Researcher | Research Overview
The major goal of the Park Laboratory is to understand how fundamental functions of extracellular matrix (ECM) components modulate the pathogenesis of infectious and inflammatory disease. Historically known for its structural roles, the ECM is now known to regulate many molecular and cellular mechanisms. The Park laboratory has found that microbial pathogens exploit the syndecan family of cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans to enhance their virulence in vivo. Several major bacterial pathogens induce syndecan shedding from the cell surface through specific virulence factors. Shed syndecan ectodomains inhibit several host defense mechanisms, shifting the balance of host-pathogen interaction to favor pathogenesis over eradication. The Park Laboratory has also found that syndecans modulate the progression and outcome of non-infectious inflammatory disease. Here, syndecans regulate inflammatory mediators and cells to confine, attenuate, or resolve inflammatory processes. These data suggest that syndecans assure the correct and adequate functioning of inflammation, but that certain pathogens have adapted or evolved to exploit these mechanisms to promote their pathogenesis.
Researcher | Research Background
Pyong Woo Park received a PhD from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and completed a fellowship at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.