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Ongoing Projects

  1. Perturbation of gut microbiota has been shown to be associated with autoimmune disorders. However, little is known about the role of gut microbiota in systemic lupus erythematosus. We aim to better our understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease by studying lupus-associated gut microbiota in both mouse and human.
  2. Lupus nephritis, a leading cause of death in patients with lupus, manifests as inflammatory infiltrates in the glomeruli and tubulointerstitium of the kidney. A recent study has revealed that the severity of tubulointerstitial lesions, versus the glomerular counterpart, is a stronger predictor of prognosis in lupus nephritis. We have found that dendritic cells accumulate, specifically, in the tubulointerstitial region of nephritic kidneys for both human lupus patients and lupus-prone mice. However, their function in lupus nephritis is unknown. We thus aim to delineate the pathogenic role of renal infiltrating dendritic cells in lupus.
  3. Numerous mouse models have been employed to understand the pathogenesis of lupus and to test potential therapies. Although each model has unique advantages, effective treatments in mouse models often do not translate to human disease. We therefore aim to generate human-mouse chimeras for lupus research.
  4. Children with selective IgA deficiency can suffer from recurrent infections. They often take prophylactic antibiotics to avoid missing school. Antibiotics can remove beneficial microbes and promote the colonization of antibiotics-resistant bacteria in the gut. We aim to better understand the roles of gut commensal microbes in de novo IgA synthesis as the basis for novel therapeutic designs that will likely benefit these children.