Pamela Chang, PhD
We are colonized by trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, which inhabit the external and internal surfaces of our bodies. It is becoming increasingly evident that these microbes play an important role in regulating many aspects of host physiology, including host defense and immunity. As a result, perturbations to the populations of commensal bacteria have been linked to many inflammatory diseases, including autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory conditions, and susceptibility to infections by microbial pathogens.
Our research focuses primarily on three areas:
(1) We develop activity-based probes to understand the metabolic activity catalyzed by the gut microbiome during different disease states.
(2) We also characterize the small-molecule metabolites produced by the gut microbiota that regulate inflammation during inflammatory diseases and host defense during infection with enteric pathogens.
(3) Building on these discoveries, we develop chemical tools to modulate the immune response using photo-immune modulators to understand the roles of specific immune cell types in vivo.
We employ biological and chemical approaches including the tools of microbiology, chemical biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular and cellular immunology to elucidate key communication pathways between the gut microbiota and the host immune system. Our ultimate goal is to understand how immune homeostasis and host defense are regulated in the intestines, as such discoveries would have broad implications for the development of therapeutics and prophylactics for many inflammatory diseases.
PhD (University of California, Berkeley)
Dr. Chang completed her BS in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her PhD in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where she developed chemical tools for probing glycosylation in the laboratory of Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi. She received her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov at Yale University School of Medicine in the Department of Immunobiology, where she studied the regulation of innate immunity by microbial metabolites.
Awards and Honors
Sloan Research Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (2022)
Scialog Fellow, Research Corporation for Science Advancement (2020)
Beckman Young Investigator Award (2017)
PCCW Affinito-Stewart Grant (2016)
Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011)
Cancer Research Institute Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship (2010)
American Chemical Society Predoctoral Fellowship (2008)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2005)