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Cheong-Hee Chang

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Primary Appointment: Microbiology and Immunology
Primary PIBS Dept.: Microbiology and Immunology
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 DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH
  The research program in my laboratory has been focusing on investigating and understanding the molecular mechanisms that govern the adaptive immune function. In particular, we are studying CD4 T cell development and effector functions in both mouse and human.

We identified a novel CD4 T cell population that functions like innate cells and thus named innate CD4 (iCD4) T cells. Unlike conventional CD4 (cCD4) T cells, iCD4 T cells produce both Th1 and Th2 cytokines immediately after activation. Furthermore, iCD4 T cells do not require Stat6 to express the IL-4 gene and the IL-4 locus is already remodeled upon positive selection. SLAM/SAP signaling is required for development of iCD4 T cells but not cCD4 T cells. Surprisingly, iCD4 T cells inhibit the generation of effector CD4 T cells or memory CD8 T cells upon Helicobacter pylori or Listeria monocytogenes infection, respectively. Taken all together, iCD4 T cells represent a unique T cell population and understanding of their development and function bear high significance. However, signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms responsible for iCD4 T cells to become innate suppressor cells are not well understood. Furthermore, studies on human iCD4 T cells very limited due to the lack of appropriate markers to identify them. Currently the lab focuses on the investigation of these two issues.