Organizing Committee Member
University of Florida
Seunghee Cha, DDS, PhD, has her expertise in the pathogenesis of SjÃƒÂ¶grenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s syndrome (SjS), focusing on the understanding of the altered salivary microenvironment and glandular regeneration. As a clinician/scientist, her long-term research goal has been to develop interventional strategies for patients suffering from SjS. This motivation allowed her to generate a SjS-prone mouse model, characterize altered SjS target tissue homeostasis, create a conjugate that protects salivary acinar cells in the SjS glandular microenvironment, profile SjS-associated miRNAs, and identify their putative target molecules. Additionally, Dr. Cha has identified via proteomics transcription factors that contribute to transdifferentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into salivary progenitor cells. Her lab is in the process of characterizing those transcription factors to identify the master regulators for the generation of saliva secreting cells. Her study summarized above was conducted to identify ways to bypass the need for a lip biopsy and improve the currently dubious diagnostic criteria for SjS.
SjÃ“Â§grenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s syndrome, Autoimmunity/autoantibodies, Salivary gland regeneration/Stem cells and miRNA in innate immunity.