The main interest of our lab is understanding how cytokine expression and function is regulation during infection and inflammatory responses in human immune system cells. Our current focus is to identify how cytokines function in disease states and to test for beneficial or detrimental immune responses to potential novel cytokine-related therapeutics. In particular our projects examine the roles played by the IL-12 family of cytokines.
We have demonstrated that IL-27, a key immunoregulatory cytokine belonging to the IL-12 cytokine family activates myeloid cells to secrete proinflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, we have also shown that IL-27 functions to augment responses triggered by innate immune cell receptors such as Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). Since IL-27 functions to link the innate and adaptive immune responses, it is a key player in the regulation of how our immune systems defends the body against pathogen invasion.
Ongoing research projects include:
1) Defining how IL-27 affects TLR4-driven anti-bacterial immunity
2) Examining the molecular mechanisms behind anti-viral immune responses led by IL-27
3) Identifying how IL-27 impacts immune responses in prostate cancer