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Ho Laboratory - Research Overview

Research Focus Areas

The Ho laboratory has two major research focuses:

  1. Pathogenesis and translational research of rheumatoid arthritis. Ho lab is investigating how genetic/environmental risk factors contribute to the disease process of rheumatoid arthritis. The lab is also identifying biomarkers and developing bioassays for predicting response to various treatments, hoping to bring personalized medicine to rheumatoid arthritis.
  2. Roles of protein citrullination in regulating the function of immune and non-immune cells. Citrullination is a unique form of post-translational modification of proteins, and aberrant citrullination is associated with several major risk factors of rheumatoid arthritis. Ho lab is investigating how citrullination affects the function of immune cells, such as lymphocytes, and non-immune cells, such as fibroblasts, in the context of autoimmune diseases and organ development.
comparison of wild type and variant genes
A genetic variation at the PTPN22 gene is associated with high risk of rheumatoid arthritis and a high propensity of forming neutrophil extracellular traps. (left: wild type, right: variant)
comparison of wild type and PAD2 deficient genes
The enzyme mediating citrullination, i.e. PAD2, is required for proper formation of elastic fibers (red) by fibroblasts. (left: wild type, right: PAD2 deficient)