Welcome to the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology (BCMP) at Harvard Medical School!
The Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology (BCMP) is a community of creative scholars, talented scientists and dedicated staff focused on advancing the research, teaching, and service missions of Harvard Medical School. The focus of research in BCMP lies in the elucidation of molecular mechanisms in biology and disease, emphasizing molecular, structural, and chemical approaches to understanding form and function in biology.
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Sun Hur, Ph.D. | Professor of BCMP
The balance between immune activity and self-tolerance is the key to successful immune functions, while their imbalance could lead to immune disorders or infectious diseases. Sun Hur, and her lab, have shown that certain mutations in the innate immune receptor MDA5 can lead to a constitutive activation of the inflammatory immune response and development of lupus-like auto-inflammatory diseases. Using a combination of biochemistry and functional assays, they recently demonstrated that the constitutive activation of MDA5 in these pathologic conditions results from the loss of tolerance to cellular dsRNAs formed by Alu retroelements. Their work demonstrates that the increased efficiency of MDA5 to recognize dsRNA comes at a cost of self-recognition, and implicates a unique role of Alu-dsRNAs as virus-like elements that shape the primate immune system. To find out more about the work done in the Hur lab, click here.