Immune system in reproduction and immunodeficiency

This is an ongoing project.

Faculty Researcher: Kang Chen

Contact Details

Kang Chen


The immune system is involved in the pathogenesis of a great majority of diseases. Our lab studies the regulation of human immune responses in infection, inflammation, immunodeficiency and reproduction.

Specifically, we study the regulation and function of B cells, the cells that produce antibodies. Dysfunction of B cells and antibody production is associated with a variety of disorders, such as HIV infection, lupus, arthritis, diabetes and cancer.

During reproduction, impaired production of antibodies increases the susceptibility of the mother, the fetus and the newborn to infections. Conversely, uncontrolled production of antibodies against paternal fetal antigens and the ensuing inflammation are major risks of reproductive failure.

We want to understand the activation and antibody production of maternal B cells during pregnancy and how mechanisms regulating the normal behaviors of B cells break down in pathological pregnancy, and whether the restoration of these mechanisms can alleviate or prevent diseases.

Immunological concepts and technologies are integral to our research. We employ a comprehensive approach encompassing molecular, cellular, histological and immunological methods and the use of animal models and human samples to address questions relevant to human diseases in a mechanistic way.

Students who participate in the research in our lab will not only learn the various experimental techniques, but also (and more importantly) learn the ideas behind project design and technical communication. We believe that teaching these skills to undergraduate students at an early stage is critical to their learning and development in a competitive scientific environment.

Past students who have worked in our lab have won awards and co-authored publications, and successfully moved on to the next stage of their career.


Hardworking, detail-oriented, well-organized
Come to the lab on a regular basis (Sporadic appearence does not get work done)
Good foundation of cell and molecular biology, physiology
Good GPA

Note: We have received a large number of student inquiries. We are interested in students who can spend at least 3 full days per week (including Saturdays and Sundays) in the lab and can work throughout the entire summer. Priority is given to students who register research work as a course and who have prior laboratory experience.

Please indicate in your email inquiry
- how much time you are able to work in the lab per week
- if you are able to work on weekends and in the summer
- why do you want to do research in our lab and what is your future career plan

Project Timeline

From 1 semester to until you graduate (depending on your performance)


Read scientific literature
Perform laboratory research and participate in lab management
Participate in scientific discussion and progress report in the lab
Present research findings at the University's UROP conference upon completion of the research
Co-author publications based on the research findings

Project-related Tags

Last Updated

August 29, 2015