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K-State Today

April 12, 2018

Division of Biology hosts Lauren Zenewicz April 13 for lecture

Submitted by Division of Biology


The Division of Biology welcomes Lauren Zenewicz to present "Gut Instincts: The Cytokine IL-22 and Mucosal Immunity" as part of its seminar series at 4 p.m. April 13 in 221 Ackert Hall.

Zenewicz is an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology in the College of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma. 

Zenewics will lecture on inflammatory bowel disease caused by a dysregulated immune response against commensal bacteria that is driven by the over production of cytokines. Cytokines are small secreted signaling molecules that transmit information from one cell to another. Cytokine targeted therapies have become an integral part of inflammatory bowel disease treatment. However, we still do not completely appreciate the environmental and molecular factors that regulate cytokine production. One critical cytokine in inflammatory bowel disease is interleukin-22 (IL-22), which is produced by T cells and other lymphocytes.

IL-22 is upregulated in IBD patients and has both protective and pathogenic roles in disease. IL-22 is an important modulator of mucosal tissue responses during inflammation and induces expression of mucins and anti-microbial proteins. Because IL-22 can be dual-natured, we hypothesized that its biological activity should be tightly regulated to limit IL-22 expression to sites of inflammation. One such environmental cue could be low oxygen (hypoxia), which often accompanies inflammation. We are currently examining how hypoxia regulates IL-22 production by T cells. These findings will impact the development of cytokine targeted therapeutics for IBD.

If you would like to visit with Zenewicz, please contact Sherry Fleming at sdflemin@ksu.edu .

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