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MolES Seminar: Dr. Mingnan Chen (University of Utah)
MolES Seminar: Dr. Mingnan Chen (University of Utah)
WhenTuesday, Oct 30, 2018, 1 – 2 p.m.
Campus locationMolecular Engineering (MOL)
Campus roomNanoES 181
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsMolecular Engineering and Sciences

Molecular Engineering and Sciences Seminar Series
Selective suppression of autoimmunity through a PD-1-targeted protein toxin

Mingnan Chen, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Utah. His research interests are at the interface of protein engineering, drug delivery, and immunotherapy. His research has been supported by the NCI and the NIBIB. Dr. Chen received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Connecticut and postdoctoral training at Duke University. Dr. Chen received his B.Sc. from Jimei University and his M.Sc. from Peking University in China. Dr. Chen is a recipient of a Pathway to Independence Award in Cancer Nanotechnology Research from the NCI.

Abstract: Specific suppression of autoimmunity without compromising healthy immunity remains an elusive but clinically significant goal in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Here, we posited that the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor is a highly selective biomarker to identify pathogenic immune cells in autoimmune diseases. Further, we hypothesized that targeted depletion of PD-1-positive (PD-1+) cells in autoimmune diseases would specifically suppress autoimmunity without compromising healthy immunity because the vast majority of lymphocytes, naive lymphocytes, are PD-1 negative. To test these hypotheses, we engineered a protein toxin that has selective toxicity to PD-1+ cells. The toxin was able to deplete PD-1+ cells in vitro and in vivo. More importantly, the depletion of PD-1+ cells drastically reversed or delayed the progression of two autoimmune disease in animal models, type-1 diabetes and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Interestingly, the depletion, although drastically inhibiting autoimmunity, did not compromise healthy adaptive immunity. In summary, the depletion of PD-1+ cells is a promising method to resolve autoimmunity while preserving healthy immunity.

This weekly seminar brings together students, faculty and invited guests from various disciplines across campus to explore current trends in molecular engineering and nanotechnology. It is a forum for active interdisciplinary discussions. These talks are open to the public and attract a diverse audience of students and faculty.…
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