Lihui Wang


Postdoctoral Researcher in Innate Immunity and Genomics

I have long been fascinated by the intricacy and complexity of the immune system since my undergraduate studies in biochemistry. My first piece of research project was a contribution to the development of a more reliable and cost effective biological reagent based endotoxin detection kit by understanding how one of the key proteins was transcriptionally regulated. This was my first direct experience of how basic research from all aspects of immunology could be applied into medical solutions.

For my PhD I worked on model systems such as Drosophila to study the conserved innate immune recognition mechanism using genetic, biophysical and biochemical approaches. After an extensive and fruitful PhD training in the evolutionarily conserved innate immunity, I pursued a postdoctoral research project in the classical adaptive immunity using mouse as the model system. This period of research on classical immunology using the mouse model has not only enriched my immunology tool kit, but also made me aware of the major shortcomings of performing a large scale forward genetic screening in animal models such as the mouse.

This experience made me decide to move back to Drosophila as the low cost model to work on the host and parasite interaction from the evolutionary point of view. The host and parasite research project has updated me with the latest reverse genetic screening approaches such as the RNAseq and RNAi technologies. I joined the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in 2017. At present

I am working with primary human cells from patients. I have found this work full of exciting opportunities to incorporate all the valuable knowledge I've gained from past research experiences complemented with recent training on up to date functional genomic technologies. At the Udalova group we now have developed a pipeline of study on immunogenotyping and molecular characterisation of subsets of human neutrophils in a cardiovascular disease context.

My interests so far have been in how the immune systems, not only in humans but also from the evolutionary point of view, are able to recognise and clear invading pathogens and to achieve immune homeostasis locally and systemically during infections.

For my future research directions, it will be exciting potential contributions for us to apply our studies on human neutrophils into other diseases such as cancer and/or autoimmune arthritis. Moreover, in-depth understandings of neutrophils' roles to contribute to the immune homeostasis can be of tremendous use in association with weight, age and gender in humans.