Jorge Henao-Mejia, M.D., Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Perelman School of Medicine
Institution
University of Pennsylvania
Address
421 Curie Boulevard
BRB II/III, Room 312
City, State, Zip
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone
(215) 898-2212
E-mail
jhena[at]mail.med.upenn.edu
Website
www.henao-mejialab.com
Research Field
Immunology
Award Year
2017

Research

My lab will elucidate the molecular mechanisms that govern the duration and intensity of immune responses. After infection or injury, immune cells that reside in the affected area clear the microbial invader and initiate repair. Failure to shut down that response once the infection has been cleared or the damaged tissue has been repaired can result in chronic inflammation, which is now considered a hallmark of several human diseases. In our lab, we discovered that inflammatory cells that circulate in the blood can be called off or deactivated by a specific group of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Using cutting-edge techniques in cell and molecular biology, bioinformatics, and gene editing, we will determine whether similar regulatory RNAs or regions of the genome that produce them also rein in the activity of immune cells that reside within tissues. We will identify lncRNAs that are made in response to specific external cues and assess which genes they regulate to quell the inflammatory response—findings that could yield novel therapeutic targets for a variety of disorders, from asthma and cancer to obesity.