The immune system operates with a delicate balance under normal conditions by responding strongly to occasional exposure to pathogenic microbes while continuously maintaining functional tolerance to foreign antigens that are chronically present, namely, those from the commensal microbiota and food. How the enteric antigens from food and commensal microbiota are tolerated by the immune system is still unclear, but requires the participation of many populations of cells that participate in the innate and adaptive immunity. Examples of cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate host immune homeostasis to enteric antigens will be presented from ongoing studies using normal and genetically manipulated mice raised under conventional, germ-free and antigen-free conditions.
Prof. Surh’s has maintained his interest in T cell biology, especially in the context of intestinal homeostasis and autoimmune & allergic diseases. He is particularly interested in further defining the mechanisms involved in establishing intestinal homeostasis with the commensal microbiota and food, and to study how these mechanisms influence host response to self and foreign constituents, including pathogenic microbes. His other interests are to discovery new approaches to manipulate the immune system in order to boost immunity against cancer and to suppress aberrant responses to self and benign antigens.
Awards and Honors
- 2010 : 100 Distinguished minds who will shine Korea in 2020
- 2007 : Ho-Am Prize in Medicine
- 1999-2004 : Scholar, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
- 1993-1996 : Special Fellow, Leukemia Society of America
- 1988-1989 : Member of the Biological Science Council representing the graduate students of the University of California, Davis
- 1988 : Student Research Prize from the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease