PCMM | Sun Hur



The Hur laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms of the vertebrate immune system. We are particularly interested in protein aggregates, namely “functional aggregates”, that play increasingly important and common functions in immune systems. Our interest in functional aggregates started with our investigation of the innate immune receptors, RIG-I-like receptors, which recognize viral RNAs during infection and activate the antiviral immune response. We discovered that RIG-I-like receptors and their downstream signaling molecules assemble into higher order oligomers (i.e. filaments) during viral RNA detection and signal transduction. We additionally showed that their functions depend upon tightly controlled assembly and disassembly processes to prevent aberrant protein oligomerization/aggregation and immune activation.

These findings have also led us to explore other functional aggregates in different biological contexts, such as transcriptional regulation in the adaptive immune system. Our on going work on one such transcription regulator, AIRE, suggests a novel mechanism in which functional protein aggregation plays an important role in transcriptional remodeling during T cell development.

Altogether, our work continues to focus on identifying new molecular principles of functional aggregates in the immune system involving nucleic acid biology: (A) antiviral innate immunity and (B) transcriptional regulation of immune functions.



About Sun Hur

Dr. Hur received her BS in physics from Ewha Women’s University in Korea in 2001, Ph.D. in physical chemistry with Dr. Thomas C. Bruice at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2003 and did her post-doctoral work in X-ray crystallography with Dr. Robert M. Stroud at the University of California, San Francisco.  Dr. Hur joined the IDI/PCMM in 2008 as a Junior Investigator.  Dr. Hur is a recipient of the 2009 Massachusetts Life Sciences Young Investigator Award, the 2010 Pew Scholar Award, as well as the 2015 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science and the 2015 Burroughs Wellcome Infectious Disease Investigator Award.

For more information about Hur lab please visit the lab website


Office: 3 Blackfan Circle, Boston, MA, 02115
Email: Sun.Hur@Childrens.Harvard.edu; Ph: 617.713.8250 
Assistant: Shirley Nicholson
Email: Shirley.Nicholson@Childrens.Harvard.edu; Ph: 617.713.8544