Dr. Fudong Liu
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Neurology
Research in my lab focuses on innate immune responses to cerebral ischemia. Post-stroke immune response is a fundamental pathological procedure that significantly affects stroke outcomes. Microglial activation is a key element in initiating and perpetuating inflammatory responses to stroke. Microglial responses are characterized as either M1, classical activation (pro-inflammatory), or M2, alternative activation (anti-inflammatory). The two distinct phenotypes of microglia potentially provide a therapeutic avenue that selectively enhances M2 and/or inhibits M1 activation. We study the IRF5-IRF4 regulatory axis that regulates microglial M1/M2 phenotype, and perform manipulation of the IRF5-IRF4 regulatory axis to confer neuroprotection against ischemia. Another research direction in this lab studies the sexual dimorphism in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) that is a major cause of neonatal death and long-term disability. The mechanisms underlying the “male sensitive” phenotype of HIE are unknown; we are employing both genetic and pharmacologic techniques to explore possible pathways that mediate the sexual dimorphism in HIE.
Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and HIE models are the basic experimental tools for the research conducted in the lab; other animal models such as bone marrow chimera and conditional knock out mouse are also employed to study the contributions of central and peripheral immune responses to stroke. Other experimental techniques available in the lab include flow cytometry (extra-/intra-cellular staining, cell sorting), co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP), cell fractionation, cell culture, Western Blots, immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR, and MultiPlex cytokine analysis, etc.