The Choi’s Lab, also named as "Cellular Immunology Lab" is interested in the molecular and cellular basis of the immune response and immunomodulation in various diseases. Je-Min Choi, Ph.D., and his team study T lymphocytes regarding both how they contribute autoimmunity and how we could modulate their functions for therapeutics in human diseases.
T cells are originated from hematopoietic stem cells, matures in the thymus, and plays a central role in immune response. Although large variety of T cell clones are beneficial to fight against diverse pathogens, their possible reactivity to self-antigen should be tightly controlled by central and peripheral tolerance system. Thus, understanding of antigen specific T cell functions and immune tolerance is crucial to understand human diseases caused by abnormalities in immune system like autoimmunity, allergy, etc.
Dr. Choi and his laboratory have identified innate immunological function of CD4 T cells during inflammation in the spinal cord and brain in autoimmune encephalomyelitis model of mice. IL-1 and IL-23 was revealed to stimulate multi-clonal bystander activation of Th17 cells in antigen independent manner supporting large amount of IL-17 and GM-CSF to cause severe demyelination in CNS. They expand bystander T cell study to explain other diseases in a different circumstance of inflammation.
In addition, his team have discovered a tissue barrier-permeable peptide from human proteins to make successful intracellular delivery of T-cell modulatory molecules. By utilizing peptide-based drug delivery system, they developed fusion proteins or peptides combined to CTLA-4, PTPN, NFATi, NLRX1, siChi3l1, etc. to study its immunomodulatory roles in autoimmunity, allergy, graft rejection, and tumor immunity.
In particular, in vivo induction of Treg cells by CTLA-4 signaling peptide is major interest as to develop a peptide immune modulator as a novel therapeutic drug for treating autoimmune disease, allergy, transplantation, GvHD, etc.
* This logo represents T cells, with Hanyang's representative colors. It also expresses that the Cellular Immunology Lab was started in 2010. This logo was proposed by Hee-Seok Yoon, who graduated from a master's program in 2015, currently working at DGMIF, and is still in use.