Modulation of brain development by immune signaling

Emerging evidence suggests that the immune system monitors pre- and post-natal brain development. Nevertheless, the contribution of each immune cell and molecule to critical steps in brain development remains unclear. We systematically analyze the immune cell populations across multiple brain developmental time points and examine their roles in specific neurodevelopmental events (e.g., synaptic maturation and myelin formation).

Negative consequences of brain injuries in cognition and behavior

Brain injuries increase the risks of dementia, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. As a result, there are no effective therapeutic strategies to prevent the transition from acute injuries to dementia and neurodegeneration. Microglia are primary immune cells in the brain that are responsive to injuries. We investigate the mechanisms of how microglia contribute to the negative outcomes of brain injuries.

Blood-brain communications in neurobiology

Recent studies have unveiled that many blood-circulating molecules can access the brain under physiological conditions, challenging the long-lasting view of “blood-brain barriers” and the “immune privileged status of the brain.” We aim to dissect the mechanisms of blood-brain communication and their impact on neuronal function and behavior, with a particular focus on extracellular vesicles and related nanoparticles.

Using cutting-edge to address neuroimmunology questions

We have access to solid neurobiology tools to determine the neuronal and glial activities in the brain, including electrophysiology, in vivo miniature microscope imaging, and optogenetics/chemogenetics. We also use RNA sequencing (single-cell and bulk) and proteomics to explore the molecular mechanisms in an unbiased manner. It is exciting to combine these cutting-edge techniques to address neuroimmunology questions.

Patient-oriented translational research

We have a good track record of studying patient samples and data to discover potential biomarkers reflecting diagnosis and prognosis. We seek for collaborations using our expertise in neuroimmunology in the field of psychiatry and neurology.