Assistant Professor Dept. of Microbiology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY
Dr. Dusan Bogunovic obtained his PhD at NYU School of Medicine, NY, NY, USA in Molecular Oncology and Immunology. During my PhD training, he examined examined the function of Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) agonists on dendritic cells and the role of immune system in advanced melanoma. He delineated the pathways involved in observed suppression of inflammation when the two TLRs were co-ligated, and demonstrated the functional relevance of this finding in T cell lineage commitment. Subsequently, his postdoctoral training took place at the Rockefeller University, NY, NY, USA where he discovered null mutations in ISG15 in patients who suffered from mycobacterial disease and had persistent Type I IFN inflammation. He showed essential roles for both free extracellular and free intracellular ISG15. In 2014, He accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the Microbiology Department of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The Bogunovic lab focuses on the study of human immunogenetics, dissecting pathways negatively regulating inflammation, and defining the role for ISGylation in humans. Dusan has been co-chair of the ICIS Membership & Communications Committee since 2017.
Centre for Cancer Research Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Dr. Gough is a biochemist and cancer biologist and group leader of the STAT Cancer Biology lab at the Hudson Institute and Monash University. He was awarded a Ph.D from the University of Melbourne for work on novel interferon signaling pathways eliciting an anti-viral state. This work identified a critical role for the AP-1 subunit c-Jun in the constitutive secretion of a priming concentration of IFN-beta which maintains STAT1 protein expression and anti-viral protection.
Dr. Gough moved to New York University to undertake post-doctoral training in Professor David E. Levy’s laboratory (Lewis A. Schneider Professor and Associate Dean for Collaborative Science). Dr. Gough developed his interest in STAT3 cancer biology in Professor Levy’s laboratory it was here that we found that the transcription factor STAT3 translocates into the mitochondria. This mitochondrial pool of STAT3 does not alter the transcription of STAT3-target genes, however it regulates metabolic activities which are required for transformation by the Ras oncogenes. Mitochondrial STAT3 augments the activity of the electron transport chain, lactate dehydrogenase, and ATP production.
Dr. Gough returned to Australia in September 2012 to start his laboratory at Monash University. His research program is supported by grants and a fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
Lerner Research Inst Cleveland Clinic Foundation Dept of Cancer Biology
Dr. Shuvojit Banerjee received his PhD in Biotechnology from the Dr.B.C.Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Calcutta (India) in 2008. He then went to the Lerner Research Institute in the Cleveland clinic to perform postdoctoral research in the laboratories of Drs. Charles Foster and Robert Silverman. He was appointed a Research Associate in the Department of Cancer Biology, Lerner Research Institute in 2014.
His current research involves investigation into studies on OAS (2’-5’oligoadenylate synthetase) – RNase L: one of the principal mediators of the innate immune response and thus critically important for human health. In a recent development, he has found that RNase L cleaves self or viral (non-self) RNA to generate small RNA products that can act as activators of host immune response. His project involves the identification of those RNaseL cleaved self or viral RNAs employing new generation RNA sequencing which is essential to host defense against a wide range of viruses and several diseases including cancer. He is also studying how cellular and viral components regulate OAS-RNase L pathway both in viral infection and in tumor microenvironment. Dr. Banerjee has been the recipient of a Milstein Travel Award and a Cleveland Clinic Innovator Award.
Tokyo University of Science Univ of Tokyo Inst of Medical Science
Noda-shi, Chiba Japan
Dr. Aoi Akitsu is an immunologist and a postdoctoral fellow at Tokyo University of Science, Japan. Her research has been focused on the cellular and molecular mechanism of the development of autoimmune diseases. She has been in Prof. Y. Iwakura’s lab throughout her research career.
She received her Ph. D from University of Tokyo for work on the pathogenesis of IL-17-producing innate-like cells, such as gd T cells and innate lymphoid cells, in autoimmune diseases. She found that IL-17-producing gd T cells play a crucial role in the development of arthritis in IL-1Ra KO mice, a good model for rheumatoid arthritis. She also found that activated CD4+ T cells directed gd T cell infiltration into joints, in a chemokine-dependent manner. These findings provide significant conceptual advances into the pathogenic mechanisms in which the cross talk between adaptive and innate immunity causes the development of autoimmune diseases in a coordinated manner.
In addition, she has found that Rag2 KO-IL-1Ra KO mice spontaneously develop colitis with a high mortality. She has demonstrated that excess IL-1 signaling and IL-1-induced IL-17 production, which is induced by innate lymphoid cells, have important roles in the pathogenesis of colitis in these mice in which Treg cells are absent.
While she was Ph.D. student, based on her accomplishments, she was accepted as a research fellow supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Young Investigators to Watch for 2018
Here are some of the emerging scientists in the field of interferon and cytokine research:
Dr. Rajsbaum performed his PhD in the laboratory of Anne O’Garra at the MRC-NIMR, London in 2009, and completed his postdoctoral training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, with Dr Adolfo Garcia-Sastre.