Lurie Cancer Center Member
Melissa A Brown, PhD
Professor, Microbiology-Immunology; Feinberg School of Medicine
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Our research is focused on issues of immune regulation. A long-standing effort has been to understand the how IL-4 is regulated in T and mast cells. We have identified that Ikaros, a transcription factor that regulates chromatin conformation, has distinct cell-type specific effects on the IL-4 gene locus in these cells. We are trying to understand the underlying mechanism of this unique repression of transcription in mast cells and activation of transcription in T cells.
Another major project involves the study of mast cells in the autoimmune diseases MS and type 1 diabetes. Althoug well-established mediators of allergic responses, mast cells are potent sources of many immunomodulatory molecules cells that can modulate disease course. Using mast cell-deficient mice, we have established that mast cells are required for fulminant EAE (MS) and NOD mouse diabetes. We are investigating the mechanism of action of these cells in disease pathogenesis.