Dr. QING DENGAssociate Professor
PROFESSIONAL FACULTY RESEARCH
neutrophils, microRNA, cell migration, microbial-host interaction and zebrafish
Inflammation as a physiological response is crucial in mammalian physiology, but is also unparalleled for its pathological potential as chronic low-level inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of seventy percent of the top leading causes of mortality in the United States. Neutrophils are the hallmark of inflammation and an essential part of the innate immune system. Manipulating neutrophil recruitment has been shown to be beneficial in various diseases including transplantation, neonatal sepsis, and others.
The long-term goal of our lab is to characterize neutrophil biology, including mechanisms regulating their migration, activation and their contribution in inflammatory disease. Our characterization are carried out mainly in the innovative zebrafish model system, which is easily amenable to genetic manipulation and live cell imaging and supplemented with works in human cells and mice.
Recent studies in various model systems and our own preliminary data have illustrated an importance for several small (~22bp) non-coding RNA molecules known as microRNAs in regulating the neutrophil inflammatory response. We have recently profiled microRNAs in zebrafish neutrophils and discovered four microRNAs that have immune regulatory function through a targeted screen. We aim to characterize those microRNAs and their targets as therapeutic means to suppress detrimental neutrophilic inflammation.