While most studies in adaptive immunity have focused on peptide-mediated immunity, my research aims to explore the unchartered territory of lipid- and metabolite-mediated immunity. This aspect of immunity represents a new frontier in immunity. Indeed, there is a number of pressing fundamental questions that I wish to address through my research program and that include: (i) What is the extent of the chemical diversity of immunogenic non-peptidic antigens (Ags)? Are there more atypical Ags to be discovered in mammalian and non-mammalian species? (ii) How are these lipid and metabolite Ags presented and recognized? (iii) What are the molecular mechanisms that underpin the recognition event and the signalling outcomes? (iv) How did non-classical MHC molecules evolve to fulfill their molecular functions within a specific species? By applying a multi-disciplinary and highly innovative approaches that include comparative immunology, chemistry, structural biology, cell immunology, advanced atomic and molecular imaging, my research program aims to provide comprehensive and fundamental insights into molecular recognition of non-peptidic Ags, and gain an evolutionary perspective on the structure and function of MHC-like Ag-presenting molecules.
1. To investigate the CD1 family and lipids-mediated immunity.
2. To investigate the MR1 family and metabolitesmediated immunity.
3. To explore the field of comparative immunology (Structure and function of MHC-like molecules in evolutionary distinct species, e.g. Marsupials, frogs, and bats).