Our Faculty : Primary Faculty

Wasif N. Khan, Ph.D.

Current Research Interests
The current focus of the Khan laboratory is to understand cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern immune defense, autoimmunity and lymphomagenesis. Investigations focus on both B cell repertoire and antibody regulation as well as non-conventional functions of B-cells as regulators of innate/inflammatory responses. Identifying and defining functional significance of critical molecules in inflammatory response, autoimmunity and lymphoid malignancies will facilitate the development of next generation of biological and more precise therapeutics for these maladies. A major focus is on understanding how dysregulated signaling in B cells leads to autoimmune diseases such as Systemic erythematosus (SLE), Sjogren’s Syndrome and Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and analyze therapeutic approaches to treat them. To accomplish this, we are studying the role of pro-apoptotic genes of the Bcl-2 family Bim and Bmf and survival and proliferation regulators B-cell activating factor (BAFF) and TLRs and a role for Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) in these signaling processes. Another focus is on the functional specialization of B cell populations into distinct types of immune responders based on the nature of challenging pathogen and location of encounter. Studies of human splenic B cell populations is revealing that marginal zone (MZ) B cells are dedicated to antibody responses to T cell-independent antigens (typically of bacterial origin) and TLR and BAFF/APRIL regulate antibody isotype class switch recombination in this process. Molecular aspects and potential for manipulation of this pathway is under way. These research efforts are enhanced by collaborations with faculty at CFAR, DRI and SCCC.

Collexis Profile
Pubmed Link.