The term "Osteoimmunology" has been coined to encourage an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the cross-talk between bone and the immune system. Despite extensive cross-talk between bone metabolism and the immune system, the mechanisms by which one regulates the other, and the biological implications of such interactions, are poorly understood. It has recently come to be appreciated that the skeletal and immune systems regulate each other to a much greater degree than previously believed. In particular, various pathological conditions which lead to excessive bone loss, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, periodontal diseases, and some tumor-associated bone abnormalities have been shown to be influenced by cellular components (e.g., T lymphocytes) as well as by soluble factors produced by infiltrating lymphocytes (e.g., interferon produced by infiltrating lymphocytes).
Future preventative treatments for these bone-related diseases that impact the quality of life will require a high degree of specificity and selectivity. In this regard, my research is focused on the molecular analysis of the osteoimmune system. The better understanding of how the osteoimmune system operates in normal and pathological situations is likely to lay the groundwork for future therapies for the variety of diseases that affect both bone and the immune system.
Current research projects:
(1) Study how osteoclast differentiation or function is regulated
(2) Study how TRAF6 modulates RANK- or TLR- mediated signaling in bone or immune system
(3) Study how TRAF2 controls TNF-induced inflammation
(4) Study how MDSC regulates autoimmune inflammatory disease or cancer development.