The Pipette Gazette recently interviewed Daniel Chupp, a student in the Molecular Immunology & Microbiology discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program about his new publication, “B cell Sirt1 deacetylates histone and non-histone proteins for epigenetic modulation of AID expression and the antibody response” in Science Advances. He is in the lab of Dr. Paolo Casali.
Tell me about your new publication in Science Advances, what is it about?
In this publication, our lab was able to further elucidate how the antibody response is regulated. We were able to show how an important enzyme, Sirt1, modulates the antibody response through facilitating DNA restructuring to repress gene expression. This form of modification, called epigenetic regulation, is how cells apply the brakes or gas pedal to the expression of genes. We have identified Sirt1 as a “master molecule” in the important processes leading to antibody production within the body. Sirt1 acts as a brake to prevent inappropriate antibody production, that can lead to autoimmune diseases, and is deactivated when appropriate to allow the production of antibodies when needed to fight off pathogens.
Why is this research important? What would you want to tell the general public about it?
Many autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, have few treatment options available and have debilitating symptoms. We are hoping these findings and our humanized mice platform can help discover much needed treatment options in the future.
What’s next for the project?
We are applying the findings in this paper to the investigation of novel methods of treating autoimmune disorders. My dissertation work is focused on the development of humanized mice (mice with fully functional human immune systems) and has allowed us to translate our epigenetic work into an in vivo human immune system. We are currently utilizing the humanized mice to model systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus) and targeting Sirt1 as a novel therapeutic approach. The humanized mouse platform has provided more accurate modeling of human diseases and we are hoping this translates into better therapeutic discovery and design.
What are your career goals?
I was previously a biochemist at Siemens Healthcare and loved my time there. My tenure there was very impactful to my career goals and led me to pursue a Ph.D. in immunology. I aspire to impact therapeutic development and discovery following the completion of my degree within an industry setting because I love the potential impact much of the translational work has on human health.