Understanding immune responses in health and disease
I have a long lasting interest in understanding immune responses in health and disease, including neurologic diseases. Our group originally cloned TREM2 from human dendritic cells in 2001. Later, genetic studies reported that homozygous loss-of-function mutations in TREM2 result in Nasu-Hakola disease. Nasu-Hakola is characterized by development of bone cysts and brain demyelination that leads to early onset dementia and early death. More recently, heterozygous allelic variants of TREM2 have been associated with increased risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Our group is trying to understand the role of TREM2 and microglial cells in the development of AD. My laboratory is also studying the role of Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells (pDCs) in Multiple Sclerosis, focusing on mouse models and trying to translate these findings to human disease. We have established collaborations with several groups interested in neuroinflammation and neurologic diseases including Dr. Diamond, Dr. Cross, Dr. Piccio, Dr. Cirrito and Dr. Holtzman.