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Principal Investigator, Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant Immunologist, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Research Affiliate, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
The overall goal of Dr. Means’ laboratory is to understand the role of pathogen-sensing by the innate immune system. Research to date has focused on the role that Toll-like Receptors (TLRs) and Scavenger receptors play in the innate immune response to a myriad of microbial pathogens. We have previously shown that macrophages and dendritic cells express unique gene expression signatures, including distinct cytokine and chemokine expression, in response to different danger signals. We are using knockout mice and RNAi to dissect the regulation of these pathways and how they induce protective immunity to infections.
Another research focus in the lab is the study of TLR7/TLR9-mediated immune system activation in system lupus erythematosus. We have found that RNA/DNA containing immune complexes found in the serum of active human lupus patients activates immune cells. We are currently studying the innate sensors and pathways that regulate SLE immune complex recognition and what role they play in the pathogenesis of lupus and other autoimmune diseases.
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