NPF-Funded Research

The Role of a Novel Skin Regulatory T-Cell Population in Obesity-Promoted Psoriasis

Chaoran	Li, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator: Chaoran Li, Ph.D.
Emory University

Grant Mechanism: Discovery Grant
Funding Amount: $75,000
Project Start Date: August 1, 2022
Project End Date: July 31, 2023
Status: Active
Keywords: Psoriasis, Animal Models, Cell Biology, Diet, Immunology

Project Summary:

Obesity is a major public health burden. Recent studies show that obesity is strongly associated with increased risk and severity of psoriasis, but the underlying mechanisms are still largely unclear. While many studies have focused on the regulation of immune cells that promote skin inflammation, the signals and factors that control the skin-resident immune subsets suppressing inflammation and how these anti-inflammatory cells might be disrupted in obese individuals that leads to worsened psoriasis are much less studied. In this proposal, we will focus on a unique subset of anti-inflammatory cells named regulatory T-cells (Tregs) and dissect how these cells control psoriatic inflammation and how they are modulated during obesity. This study should help to develop novel strategies to target Tregs in the skin to treat psoriasis, especially in obese patients.

Researcher Profile:

Dr. Chaoran Li obtained a BSc in Biological Sciences from Peking University and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Duke University, where he investigated the role of microRNAs and epigenetic mechanisms in controlling the differentiation and function of CD4+ T cells. Dr. Li continued his training in the joint laboratory of Drs. Diane Mathis and Christophe Benoist at Harvard Medical School. His research focused on dissecting the regulation of a unique population of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in adipose tissue, and how they control organismal metabolism at homeostasis and during obesity-induced metabolic diseases. Dr. Li is a recipient of the D. Bernard Amos Research Award from Duke University and the CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship from Cancer Research Institute. In January 2020, Dr. Li joined the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Emory University School of Medicine as an assistant professor.

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