April 17, 2020

Yuan He wins Provost’s University Research Grant for inflammation project

The research of Yuan He, Ph.D., is getting a boost from the Wayne State University Office of the Provost in the form of a 2020-2021 University Research Grant from Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Faculty Success Annmarie Cano.

Yuan He, Ph.D.
Yuan He, Ph.D.

“I feel very happy to be selected for this grant, which will provide the essential resource for pursuing my research projects,” he said.

Dr. He, an assistant professor of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine, will use the grant to support his project, “Molecular Mechanism of NEK7-mediated NLRP3 inflammasome activation.”

“Excessive inflammation is associated with many human diseases. Inflammation is initiated by ‘sensor’ proteins of our innate immune cells that detect microbial infection and tissue injury. NLRP3 belongs to one type of sensor proteins that are activated to form intracellular multiple protein complexes called inflammasomes, and its aberrant activation is implicated in several human diseases, such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and atherosclerosis,” he said.

NEK7 has emerged as a critical regulator of NLRP3 inflammasome activation. However, how NEK7 mediates NLRP3 inflammasome activation remains unclear.

“Our studies aim to decipher the underlying molecular mechanism of NEK7-mediated NLRP3 inflammasome activation and might facilitate the development of novel treatment strategies for NLRP3-driven diseases,” Dr. He said.