The Yeong Shin Yim laboratory focuses on understanding the relationship between the immune system and the brain. The immune system is increasingly recognized as being a critical contributor to the development of neurological conditions. Cytokines, a major class of effector molecules of the immune system, are known to be critical in mediating the detrimental effects of inflammation on development. However, little is known about how cytokines affect change in the brain following immune activation, why cytokine receptors are expressed in the brain in classically non-immune cells such as neurons and what the functions of infiltrated immune cells in the brain are. Understanding the involvement of cytokines, cytokine receptors and infiltrated immune cells in brain development and function is necessary to understand the critical connection between the immune system and the brain.
Through molecular genetics, animal behavior and transcriptomics, the Yim lab seeks to understand how disruption of the immune system can affect brain development. Yim and colleagues believe that a deeper understanding of neuroimmunology will lead to the development of novel, effective treatments for neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions.