The Integrative Immunobiology Section is interested in understanding how gene expression programs are orchestrated as cells differentiate from stem cells into various lineages in the immune system. In particular, the laboratory studies how these systems are controlled by microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and RNA-binding proteins. Our major goal is to discover novel molecular circuits that control cell fates in the hematopoietic and immune systems, since perturbations in their genetic programming underlie many diseases including cancer, immunodeficiency, autoimmunity, inflammation, allergy and infectious diseases. To address these fundamental issues, we employ an integrative systems biology approach to reverse engineer the molecular logic of cellular differentiation. We combine genome- and transcriptome-wide measurements with experimental perturbations in order to test and refine our models. As one example of our success, we identified the RNA-binding protein Lin28b as a lineage-determining factor for fetal hematopoietic stem cells, a discovery with potentially important implications for Regenerative Medicine. At a basic level, we demonstrate the concept of post-transcriptional (re)programming of cell fate decisions.
Dr. Muljo earned his Ph.D. from the Graduate Program in Immunology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Part of his dissertation work was performed at the department of molecular and cell biology in the division of immunology and pathogenesis, University of California, Berkeley. This was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Immune Disease Institute (formerly the Center for Blood Research), Harvard Medical School. He was recruited to the Laboratory of Immunology (LI) in 2008 as a tenure-track investigator. In 2016, he was promoted to tenured Senior Investigator and is head of the Integrative Immunobiology Section. He is a faculty member of the NIH-Penn graduate partnership program, as well as others.
Patrick Burr, contractorBryan Chim, contractorRui Li, Ph.D., visiting fellowXiuhuai Liu, Ph.D., biologistPatrick Smith, Ph.D., chemistYi Jun Su, special volunteerSaifeng Wang, Ph.D., visiting fellow
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Yuan J, Nguyen CK, Liu X, Kanellopoulou C, Muljo SA. Lin28b reprograms adult bone marrow hematopoietic progenitors to mediate fetal-like lymphopoiesis. Science. 2012; 335:1195-1200.
Yuan J, Muljo SA. Exploring the RNA world in hematopoietic cells through the lens of RNA-binding proteins. Immunological Reviews. 2013; 253: 290-303.
Escobar TM, Kanellopoulou C, Kugler DG, Kilaru G, Nguyen CK, Nagarajan V, Bhairavabhotla R, Northrup D, Zahr R, Burr P, Liu X, Zhao K, Sher A, Jankovic D, Zhu J, Muljo SA. miR-155 activates cytokine gene expression in Th17 cells by regulating the DNA-binding protein Jarid2 to relieve Polycomb-mediated repression. Immunity. 2014; 40: 865-879.
Kanellopoulou C, Gilpatrick T, Kilaru G, Burr P, Nguyen CK, Morawski A, Lenardo MJ, Muljo SA. Reprogramming of Polycomb-mediated gene silencing in embryonic stem cells by the miR-290 family and the methyltransferase Ash1l. Stem Cell Reports. 2015; 5: 971–978.
Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.
Joint doctoral studentship positions are open in the Integrative Immunobiology Unit and the Copley laboratory or Oreste Acuto’s laboratory at Oxford University, United Kingdom, as part of the NIH-OxCam Partnership Program.
Specifically, we have the following proposed collaborations that qualify for the NIH-Oxford University Scholar in Biomedical Research Program, NIH-Marshall Scholar Program, NIH-Rhodes Scholar Program, or NIH-Wellcome Trust Program:
For instructions on how to apply for the program, see Graduate Partnerships Program.
Last Updated March 21, 2016