Overview of Research Interests
My research efforts have focused on physiological events that are triggered by pathological conditions in the central nervous system (CNS). My recent collaborative work on traumatic brain injury and autoimmune diseases has led to my interest in understanding behavioral consequences during different stages of neuroinflammation and exploration of pharmacological interventions.
Our laboratory’s current research aims to elucidate effects of peripheral immune responses on the functions of the central nervous system. Inflammatory events in the periphery, such as infections and allergies, have been linked to behavioral abnormalities, including depression, anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, autism and even psychosis. However, underlying mechanisms by which the peripheral immune system communicates with the CNS to alter behavior are not fully understood.
Using a mouse model of food (milk) allergy, we investigate allergen-triggered molecular and cellular events that are associated with altered behavioral phenotypes. Profiling epigenetic changes in the genes that regulate immune responses as well as neural functions are of our particular interest.