Inflammation is a complex multicellular response to tissue injury that is genetically programmed and highly regulated. Its importance in physiology and disease pathogenesis cannot be overstated. This process plays a critical role in immune disorders, cancer, the metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis, and neurodegeneration, to name a few. Dr. Burstein’s laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular underpinnings of persistent inflammation through the investigation of cellular events that regulate pro-inflammatory gene expression, and through the examination of genetic causes of syndromes characterized by pathologic inflammation. His group has identified mechanisms that terminate pro-inflammatory transcriptional responses, particularly pathways that shut down the transcription factor NF-kB, a master regulator of inflammation. In the process, he identified the highly conserved COMMD protein family, and defined critical functions of these factors in other processes, such as endosomal sorting. More recently, his group has defined novel pathways that regulate antiviral immune responses and their deregulation in genetic syndromes in humans.
Helen H. Hobbs, MD is the representative at this institution.