Harvard Medical School

Division of Immunology

Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology

Evergrande Center for Immunological Diseases

Harvard Medical School

77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, NRB 1056A

Boston, MA 02115

phone: 617 432 5355 (Office)

phone: 617 432 5367 (Lab)



Research Summary

Immune cell modulation is an attractive strategy for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. Inflammation is critical to protecting us from dangers within (e.g. cancer) and without (e.g. microbes). But inflammation also drives much human pathology and disease, including autoimmune diseases and, potentially, neurodevelopmental disorders.

Towards improved treatments for a range of conditions, we are interested in uncovering novel mechanisms controlling the function and development of pathogenic immune cells. Nuclear hormone receptor (NhRs) family members are thought to play key roles in these pathways. They are regulated by cell-membrane-permeable small-molecule ligands and play critical roles in immune cell function.

Specifically, the Huh laboratory aims to identify host- and bacteria-derived small molecules that control inflammation in mammalian guts. We are also interested in uncovering the mechanisms by which NhRs control immune cell differentiation and function. Finally, we are studying the mechanisms by which inflammation during pregnancy and in adult body dictates neural development and animal behaviors.

Selected Publications

Yim YS, Park A, Berrios J, Pascual L, Soares N, Kim JY, Kim S, Kim H, Waisman A, Littman D, Harnett MT, Wickersham IR, Huh JR*, Choi GB*. Reversing behavioral abnormalities in mice exposed to maternal inflammation. Nature. 2017 doi:10.1038/nature23909

Kim S, Kim HJ, Yim YS, Ha S, Atarashi K, Tan TG, Longman RS, Honda K, Littman DR, Choi GB*, Huh JR*. Maternal gut bacteria promote neurodevelopmental abnormalities in mouse offspring. Nature. 2017 doi:10.1038/nature23910.

Choi GB, Yim YS, Wong H, Kim S, Kim H, Kim SV, Hoeffer CA*, Littman DR*, Huh JR*. The maternal interleukin-17a pathway in mice promotes autism-like phenotypes in offspring. Science. 2016 Feb 26;351(6276):933-9. PubMed PMID: 26822608; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4782964.

Sellars M*, Huh JR*, Day K, Issuree PD, Galan C, Gobeil S, Absher D, Green MR, Littman DR. Regulation of DNA methylation dictates Cd4 gene expression during development of helper and cytotoxic T cell lineages. Nature immunology. 2015 Jul;16(7):746-54. PubMed PMID: 26030024; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4474743.

Huh JR, Leung MW, Huang P, Ryan DA, Krout MR, Malapaka RR, Chow J, Manel N, Ciofani M, Kim SV, Cuesta A, Santori FR, Lafaille JJ, Xu HE, Gin DY, Rastinejad F, Littman DR. Digoxin and its derivatives suppress TH17 cell differentiation by antagonizing RORγt activity. Nature. 2011 Apr 28;472(7344):486-90. PubMed PMID: 21441909; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3172133.