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The Immune Network of the Central Nervous System

About Us

Zhang Lab at ASAP Parkinson’s Disease Team Retreat. 2022.

Our research goal is to use cutting-edge single-cell technologies to understand the immune responses of the central nervous system in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, HIV-associate neurocognitive disorders, and multiple sclerosis.

We Are Hiring! We are open to highly motivated scientists at all levels to work on exciting, ongoing initiatives, especially neuroimmunology and technology development. Please email Dr. Zhang for more information.

Latest News

  • Revealing Communications Between Brain and Body

    “This is the first time we actually know how different body signals are being represented through the vagal interoception system to the brain in a very precise and accurate manner,” says co-senior investigator Rui Chang, PhD. “We know that the brain can very precisely discriminate signals, but what is the biological reason for that discrimination?”

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  • Feeling Down? T Cells Can Help!

    A newly published Yale study compared the immune system cells of people with multiple sclerosis, or MS, and those of healthy individuals. The scientists found that immune cells may play an important role in an individual’s mental well-being. Researchers at the Hafler Lab — run by Professor of Neurology David Hafler — used a new technology called single cell RNA sequencing to study the immune cells known as T cells present in the spinal fluid of healthy people and those with MS. Their results provide an in-depth picture of what a normal immune system looks like, which will allow researchers to better understand autoimmune diseases and investigate the link between immunology and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. The study, first authored by graduate student Jenna Pappalardo YSM ’20, was published in Science Immunology on Sept. 18.

    Source: Yale Daily News
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  • Yale study says the immune system may now protect you from this type of illness

    The immune system is undeniably the human body’s main line of defense against viruses, pathogens, and ailments of all physical varieties. Now, however, a potentially groundbreaking new set of research from Yale University theorizes that our immune systems may have an active role in staving off mental health problems as well. More specifically, the research team at Yale has identified a set of immune cells that may be involved in preventing depression among healthy individuals. Those immune cells, referred to as gamma interferons, are a big part of jump-starting and controlling several immune system responses.

    Source: Ladders News
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  • $15M NIDA Grant Awarded to Serena Spudich, Mark Gerstein, and Yuval Kluger

    Principal Investigators Serena Spudich, MD, MA (Neurology), Mark Gerstein, PhD (Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry), and Yuval Kluger, PhD (Pathology) were recently awarded a $15 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to establish a Data Center to coordinate, analyze, and make accessible single-cell and other molecular data sets generated by Single-Cell Opioid Responses in the Context of HIV (SCORCH) and other NIDA-funded HIV and substance use disorder projects.

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