Inflammasomes are multi-protein complexes that are responsible for the induction of proinflammatory cytokines and inflammatory cell death. They are unique in innate immune signaling because they can be triggered by a plethora of diverse signals from both pathogens and environmental danger. The research in our lab focuses on dissecting the molecular mechanisms of inflammasome pathways and studying how their dysfunction leads to defective host defense against various pathogenic microorganisms, as well as the impact on autoimmune diseases, neurodegeneration and metabolic syndromes.
Our lab utilizes diverse and complementary approaches, including biochemical assays, confocal fluorescence imaging, CRISPR knockout/rescue and animal models. Our recent study has uncovered the unexpected role of trans-Golgi network dispersion in inflammasome activation, and we are currently interested in studying how pathogens are able to evade or hijack these cellular signals to counter the host defense. We believe that these studies will unveil potential therapeutic targets for infectious diseases and many other human health problems.