Inflammation enables our immune system to root out infections, heal wounds, and even eliminate cancer. However, if inflammation becomes chronic or irregular, it can harm our healthy tissues and even support cancer. SPMs (specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators) are molecules that can help “de-escalate” inflammation by enhancing phagocytosis, the process of recycling cellular and molecular debris. However, it’s unknown how SPMs promote phagocytosis, so Dr. Li is designing a way to track a specific SPM and identify to what it binds. After he’s identified potential targets, he plans to genetically modify cells to see how different genes impact inflammation signaling pathways. These insights could then guide strategies seeking to limit improper inflammation in patients with cancer and other diseases.
Projects and Grants
Chemical Biology of Anti-Inflammatory Lipids
The Rockefeller University | All Cancers | 2017 | Howard C. Hang, Ph.D.
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