Immunology Faculty Member - Isaac Chiu, PhD

Isaac Chiu, PhD

Harvard Medical School
NRB Building, Room 830
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
Boston, MA 02115
Visit my lab page here.

Our central goal is to understand the role of the peripheral nervous system in host defense and inflammation. Peripheral sensory neurons detect potentially harmful/noxious stimuli and elicit the sensations of pain or itch. Celsus originally defined pain as one of the cardinal signs of inflammation; however, the molecular mechanisms of pain and the role of the nervous system in modulation of host defense is not well-understood. We found that nociceptive sensory neurons express specific receptors for pathogen and immune-derived factors. Moreover, these neurons release neuropeptides that can modulate innate immune function during infection.

The main areas of interest in the laboratory are: a) To define the molecular mechanisms of pain and itch generation during pathogenic infection b) To investigate the molecular pathways activated by inflammatory mediators in sensory neurons. c) To examine how neurons communicate with the innate and adaptive immune cells to modulate their function in host defense. We will utilize animal models of infection and inflammation together with neuronal and behavioral analysis to investigate neuro-immune mechanisms involved in pain and inflammation.

Last Update: 1/13/2015


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