July 23, 2020

Yuan He lab wins $1.9 million to explore how a common piece of the immune system contributes to inflammation

A Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher who won a 2020-2021 University Research Grant from the WSU Office of the Provost in April has now earned his first R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Yuan He, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology Yuan He, Ph.D., is the principal investigator of “Molecular Mechanism of NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation,” a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The project will investigate the molecular mechanism of a natural component of the human immune system that contributes to the pathogenesis of a variety of inflammatory diseases.

The NLRP3 inflammasome is a critical component of the innate immune system that controls the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin ( IL)-1β and IL-18 in response to infection and tissue damage. Aberrant activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, Dr. He said, contributes to the pathogenesis of several inflammatory disorders, including Cryopyrin-associated autoinflammatory syndrome, gout, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

“The goal of this project is to better understand how the NLRP3 inflammasome is activated,” he said. “Understanding the mechanism of NLRP3 inflammasome activation might guide the development of novel therapeutic strategies for treating NLRP3 inflammasome-driven inflammatory diseases.”

Zhe Yang, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, is a co-investigator on the grant.