The overall research goal of the laboratory of SangKon Oh, Ph.D., is to understand how the innate immune system plays a decision-making role in orchestrating the strength, quality and persistence of antigen-specific T and B cell responses. This fundamental question can be addressed in the context of microbial infections, cancers and inflammatory diseases (including autoimmune diseases).
Dr. Oh's laboratory studies the biology of human dendritic cell subsets in both healthy and diseased tissues using an integrative biological approach. Researchers then harness this knowledge for the rational design of vaccines and therapeutics for microbial infections, cancers and inflammatory diseases, as well as for the prevention and treatment of transplantation rejection.
- Characterization of the molecular and cellular phenotypes and functions of human dendritic cell subsets localized in different tissue microenvironments (including skin and mucosal tissues such as the lungs and genital tract)
- Discovery of novel cellular and molecular targets for the manipulation of dendritic cell functions to promote host immunity or immune tolerance, particularly antigen-specific immune tolerance
- Determination of mechanisms for the innate control of type 1 interferon (IFN) expression by dendritic cells, especially plasmacytoid dendritic cells, in the context of type 1 IFN-associated inflammatory diseases and transplantation rejection
- Characterization of the phenotypes and functions of human regulatory B cell subsets in the context of transplantation rejection or tolerance, cancers, and autoimmune diseases
- Acquisition of mechanistic insight into donor-specific antibody-mediated rejection in solid organ transplantation
Significance to patient care
The discovery of new immunological functions and unique phenotypes of human dendritic cell subsets localized in different tissues will eventually allow for the design of novel therapeutics for cancers (by enhancing host immunity against tumors), as well as for inflammatory diseases and transplantation rejection (by enhancing immune tolerance).
In addition, understanding the mechanisms for the innate control of type 1 IFN expression by dendritic cells is of critical importance for rational design of novel therapeutic strategy for multiple types of inflammatory diseases. Dr. Oh's study in the areas of human regulatory B cells and antibody-mediated transplantation rejection will also aid the design of novel therapeutics for transplantation rejection and inflammatory diseases.