Cheong-Hee Chang, Ph.D.

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
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Dr. Chang earned her BS and MS degrees from Seoul National University, South Korea, and Ph.D. from University of Virginia. She received postdoctoral training in Immunology at Yale University, in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Flavell. She then joined the faculty of University of Michigan, Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 1996. After spending 6 years in Indiana University of School of Medicine, she rejoined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 2007.

Research Interests

The research program in my laboratory focuses on investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern immune function. Recently, the signaling pathways that control cellular metabolism have been shown to have a crucial role in dictating the outcome of T cell activation and effector function. Resting CD4 and CD8 T cells use predominantly oxidative metabolism but stimulation led them to sharply increase glucose metabolism and adopt aerobic glycolysis as a primary metabolic program. Moreover, changes in the metabolic profile of T cells are known to be responsible for defining specific effector functions and T cell subsets. Therefore, it is clear that there is a link between metabolism and the phenotype of T effector cells which influences the type of immunity.

Our recent studies revealed that iron homeostasis is crucial for T cell maintenance, activation, proliferation, and function. Currently, we are working to discover how iron controls mitochondria in T cells; how iron regulates signaling pathways and transcription factors that impact the metabolic machinery and the effector function; how the difference in iron metabolism influences T cell-mediated immune responses; and how iron differentially regulated regulatory T cell survival and function.

Research Opportunities for Rotating Students