Ion Channels & Immunity Program

The Ion Channels and Immunity Program, part of the Department of Pathology at NYU Langone Health, is a new center dedicated to the research of ion channels and transporters (ICTs) in immunity. We aim to build on existing institutional strengths in areas including immunology, and autoimmunity, inflammation, ion channels, and metabolism.

Our goal is to understand the basic mechanisms by which ICTs regulate the function of immune cells and immune responses in infections, tumors, and autoimmune disorders. A deeper understanding of ICTs will allow the development of new therapeutics for immune-related diseases.

The Significance of Ion Channels and Transporters in Immunity

ICTs are important for the regulation of immune system function and responses. However, only 10 to 20 ICTs are well established to have a role in immune cells and immunity. This is a small fraction of the more than 500 known ICTs and associated proteins.

ICTs have been comprehensively studied in the nervous system, heart, and kidney, but researchers have not focused as closely on their role in the immune system. This gap in our understanding of the physiological function of ICTs in immunity is a missed opportunity for the development of new drugs to modulate immune-related diseases.

The Ion Channels and Immunity Program is unique in its focus on investigating the function of ICTs in immunity. Because of the relative paucity of research on ICTs in this area, our research has a significant basic science discovery component. Furthermore, ICTs are a largely untapped field in therapeutics development. By defining the role of ion channels in immunity, our goal is to develop new drugs for antitumor immunotherapy and for the treatment of autoimmunity, inflammation, asthma, and other immune-related diseases.

Our Research Approach

Our interdisciplinary research teams merge basic science discovery research on ICTs in immune cells with the translation of these discoveries into new treatment approaches for immune-related disorders.

Our areas of focus include the following: