In recent years, epigenetic mechanisms, such as histone modification and DNA methylation, have been identified which, translate environmental signals into gene regulation. These molecular epigenetic processes, translate the myriad environmental signals encountered each day, into definitive regulation of our genome, and by extension, who we are at a basic biological level. Dr. O’Connor’s work focuses on understanding at a molecular and organismal level, how epigenetic mechanisms regulate the decision processes governing immune cell activity in the context of disease. The immune system is comprised of multiple types of autonomous cells that must work together to influence the outcome of disease. Currently, Dr. O’Connor’s lab examines the cross talk between environmental stimuli (such as diet or inflammation), the immune system, and disease (such as Asthma).
Yi Jia, Katsuyuki Takeda, Junyan Han, Anthony Joetham, Roland A. Marcus, Joseph J. Lucas, Brian P. O’Connor*, and Erwin W. Gelfand*. IL-4 induces epigenetic and phenotypic conversion of CD8+ T cells from IFN- to IL-13-producing cells that mediate airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation. (2012).
O'Connor, B.P.; Eun,S.-Y.; Zhengmao, Y.; Zozulya, A.L.; Lich, J.D.; Moore, C.B.; Iocca, H.A.; Roney, K.E.; Holl, E.K.; Wu, Q.P.; van Deventer, H.W.; Fabry, Z and Ting, J.P.-Y. Semaphorin 6D regulates the late phase of CD4+ T cell primary immune responses. PNAS, 2008, Sept. 2, vol.105, no.35: 13015-13020.
O’Connor, B.P.*; Vogel, L.A.*; Zhang, W.; Loo, W.; Shnider, D.; Lind, E.F.; Ratliff, M.; Noelle, R.J.; Erickson, L.D. Imprinting the Fate of Antigen-Reactive B cells through the Affinity of the B cell Receptor. J. of Immunology. 2006 Dec 1; 177 (11).
O'Connor BP*; Raman VS*; Erickson LD*; Cook WJ; Weaver LK; Ahonen C; Lin LL; Mantchev GT; Bram RJ; Noelle RJ. BCMA Is Essential for the Survival of Long-lived Bone Marrow Plasma Cells. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2004 Jan 5;199(1): 91-8. O'Connor BP; Cascalho M; Noelle RJ. Short and Long-Lived Bone Marrow Plasma Cells are Derived from a Novel Plasma Cell Precursor Population. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2002, Vol.195, No.6, 737-745.
* denotes co-author