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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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  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.