All neurological diseases, including developmental, traumatic, ischemic, neoplastic, and neurodegenerative conditions, have inflammatory components. Diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) are caused by an autoimmune response. To improve treatment of these diseases, we need a better mechanistic understanding of the factors that contribute to the development of inflammation and autoimmunity in the brain. By identifying the underlying factors, we can pinpoint molecules that we can target for treatment. Laboratories in the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (PrIISM) are working to achieve this goal. We perform a wide range of studies, which include human genomics, single cell analysis, and animal models, that have identified genes associated with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases that influence the brain’s main immune cells, the microglia. PrIISM scientists are also working to understand how the commensal bacteria in a person’s gut—their microbiome—influences the development of MS and other autoimmune diseases.
Investigators with a major focus in microbiome and/or host pathogen interaction include:
Dr. Tankou is an Assistant Professor of Neurology with a secondary appointment to the Precision Immunology Institute and The Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She sees patients at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis, with a clinical focus in MS, neuromyelitis optica, and neurosarcoidosis. Dr. Tankou’s research lab focuses on gut-derived bacteria that regulate inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS), setting the goal to identify gut-derived bacteria that can serve as biomarkers as well as disease-modifying therapies for MS and other CNS autoimmune diseases.
Area(s) of Focus: Neuroimmunology