Dr. Mikami’s research goals are to uncover how gut is inflamed in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and to find new drug targets for treating IBD. To this aim, he will utilize next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and build a comprehensive map of transcriptome and epigenome in immune cells, including gut resident T helper (Th) cells and innate lymphoid cells (ILC). It is expected this map will enable us to unveil novel mechanisms causing chronic intestinal inflammation.
IBD are characterized by an aberrant immune response in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Adaptive and innate lymphocytes of specialized functions are believed to cause and exacerbate colitis. Although various T cell and innate lymphoid cell (ILC) subsets exist and counteract with each other’s function to maintain gut homeostasis, it has not fully understood how proper balance is achieved. We have previously identified that gut barrier function is enhanced through increased production of IL-22 by cell-to-cell contact between macrophage and ILC. By extending the studies, Dr. Mikami has participated in collaborative efforts to document distinctive developmental programs that separate innate cells from adaptive cells by way of genomic fingerprints.
Using next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, we aim to obtain data from gut resident cells in health and diseases. It is anticipated identifying core molecular network for gut homeostasis as well as deciphering complex cellular communication among gut resident cells. We also aim to understand critical yet unappreciated roles of miRNAs to maintain healthy environment of the gut, and find a clue to use miRNAs as a new modality to harness pathogenic T helper (Th) cells and ILC during colitis, as well as new therapeutic approaches to control IBD.