The immune system is essential for stopping pathogen invasion, but it also plays a role in many non-infectious processes, including wound healing, tumor surveillance, and autoimmune disease. The professional antigen presenting cells, namely dendritic cells (DC) and macrophages, help to coordinate immune responses through their ability to present antigens to T cells and provide co-stimulation. We are trying to identify the genes that regulate the underlying molecular biology of DCs and macrophages in order to utilize this information for controlling immune responses. This includes searching for genes that can be drugged to subdue inflammatory responses mediated by DCs and macrophages, or by finding microRNAs that can be exploited to restrict antigen expression from immunostimulatory DCs.

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Picture above is a schematic showing how the miR-126-VEGFR2 axis controls innate immunity through multiscale regulation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (Image from Cella and Trinchieri Nat Immunol 2014 commentary on Agudo et al. Nat Immunol 2014)