Edward Chan, PhD
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Signaling of proteins called interferons, which are produced by cells of the immune system in response to foreign substances such as viruses and parasites, is increasingly recognized as important to the cause and development of lupus.
Dr. Chan hypothesizes that certain genetic material responsible for regulating approximately 30 percent of the human genome—very small “microRNA molecules”—participate in controlling the activity and signaling of these interferons.
With LRI funding, Dr. Chan’s team will investigate which of the microRNAs might be involved, applying an analysis of microRNAs already completed on a small number of people to a much larger cohort.
If his findings are positive, the team will attempt to determine whether the microRNAs identified actually affect interferon signaling pathways—and play a role in lupus.
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