We are broadly interested in studying the biological roles of innate immune cells in the brain. Microglia, the brain-resident innate immune cells, contribute to neuronal circuit formation during brain development. These cells are also known to trigger neuroinflammation and neuronal cell death in aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) etc. In our laboratory, we employ an integrated research approach by combining methods from chemistry, chemical biology, synthetic biology, immunology, and neuroscience to investigate and modulate the function of microglial cells in health and disease.
The four main research areas that we are currently focusing are:
- Design and development of new chemical and genetic tools for studying microglia and macrophages in vivo
- Chemical biology approaches for reprogramming harmful microglial cells in the CNS
- Mechanistic investigations of microglial activation and immune suppression
- Chemical biology approaches for engineering synaptic connections
In our research, we use 2D & 3D co-culture systems, iPSCs, human cerebral organoids and mice as model systems. To visualize the in vivo dynamics and functions of immune cells, we are using high-resolution fluorescence microscopy and whole animal imaging techniques.