Mirza S. Baig, PhD
Lab members: Dr. Manikandan A., Sajjan Rajput, Anjali Roy, Lateefur Rehman (Lab-Incharge)
Our research focuses on the understanding of cell signaling pathways and transcriptional mechanisms that regulate the functional polarisation of macrophages in inflammation and immunity. Macrophage activation by microbial pattern recognition receptors, such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs), is critical for innate and adaptive immunity and has been extensively studied. However, these cells also play important roles in the resolution of inflammation, maintaining tissue homeostasis and immune-tolerance, but we understand relatively little about the signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms that control the functions of macrophages in this context. In infectious diseases and cancer, these mechanisms promote the evasion of protective immunity and disease progression. On the other hand, dysregulation of these mechanisms may also lead to chronic inflammatory disease and autoimmunity.
Our previous work showed the prototypical pro-inflammatory transcription factor, Nuclear Factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), actually has an important role in the resolution of inflammation by limiting macrophage activation during infection. Breakthrough research demonstrated the role of Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS1)-derived Nitric Oxide (NO) in turning-on the inflammatory response during chronic inflammatory diseases. This discovery leads investigators across the globe to understand and research macrophage NOS1-derived NO in the context of various chronic inflammatory conditions including some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis etc. Our ongoing studies are focused on further characterization of the signalling pathways in macrophages that dictate the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory functions or immune-stimulatory versus immune-suppressive activity.