• Source: Scopus
  • Calculated based on no. of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1994 …2022

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Personal profile

Research interests

Research projects in the laboratory are focused on three areas: 1) To elucidate the molecular mechanisms for the regulation of mitochondrial autophagy; 2) To study the molecular mechanisms for immunological memory against infections; and 3) To develop a cure for HIV infection by the SECH approach through selective elimination of host cells harboring replication-competent HIV:

 

1. Autophagy is critical for mitochondrial quality control through the clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria. Autophagy is also important for the maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis and the regulation of cellular metabolic functions. We have identified novel signaling complexes that regulate the specificity for mitochondrial autophagy by mass spectrometry. Ongoing studies aim to understand the molecular mechanisms for the specific recognition of dysfunctional or surplus mitochondria for degradation by autophagy. How selective mitochondrial autophagy regulates diverse cellular functions and protects the cellular fitness and longevity are being studied.

 

2. The generation of immunological memory by forming immune memory cells against pathogens is essential for the success of vaccines. We are studying the molecular mechanisms governing the formation and maintenance of immune memory cells. We have discovered an essential role for autophagy in the long-term maintenance of memory B cells against influenza. We aim to characterize the molecular mechanisms for immunological memory to facilitate the development of more effective vaccines against epidemic and pandemic infections.

 

3. The RNA genome of HIV is reverse-transcribed into DNA and integrated into the genome of host cells, resulting in persistent infections that are difficult to clear. We have developed a strategy to eradicate HIV infection by selective elimination of host cells harboring replication competent HIV (SECH). The SECH approach combines viral reactivation with induction of cell death and inhibition of autophagy to specifically delete host cells capable of producing HIV. SECH can clear HIV-1 infection in humanized mice,  and in PBMCs from HIV-1 patients. We will further investigate the efficacy and safety of SECH for HIV eradication in preclinical studies, and develop SECH as a therapeutic approach for treating people living with HIV. 

Education/Academic qualification

Immunology, Postdoctoral Associate, NIH

19952001

Microbiology, PhD, University of Southern California

19901995

External positions

Professor of Immunology in Surgery, Weill-Cornell Medical College

2017 → …

Research Area Keywords

  • Immunobiology & Inflammation
  • Infectious Disease & Pathology

Free-text keywords

  • Mitochondrial autophagy
  • Immunological memory
  • Memory B cells
  • Memory T cells
  • HIV cure

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