The immune system is a remarkable orchestrator in the body. While it is critical in fighting off infectious pathogens, it also has the capacity to communicate with other tissues and regulate fundamental physiology. The Winer lab is interested in understanding how the immune system influences physiological processes and contributes to chronic disease. Two focuses of the lab are how to understand how the immune system contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes as a model chronic disease, and how immunology affects the aging process itself.
During diet-induced obesity and the aging process, chronic low-grade inflammation is emerging as an important factor driving complications of these conditions. The Winer lab has made fundamental findings in understanding how the immune system, including the adaptive immune system, contributes to low-grade inflammation in metabolic tissues, such as the liver and fat, as well as in the intestines during diet-induced obesity. The lab also investigates how metabolic changes inside immune cells are influenced by environmental factors and external hormones to control immune cell function during homeostasis and disease. Thus, the focus of the lab falls into the scope of the growing field of immunometabolism. The goal is to use this information to develop new translational diagnostics and therapeutics, including immune therapies and vaccines against aging-related chronic disease.