SUN LAB

Research Interests

Our research interests are host-microbiome interactions in health and disease. Our research is supported by the NIH, DOD, and a few other research awards. Using cultured cell lines, organoids, transgenic mouse models, and human samples, Sun lab is currently working on the following directions:

Investigation of gut microbiome and vitamin D receptor in intestinal homeostasis and inflammation.

Our studies provide novel insights into vitamin D receptor regulation of gut microbiome (Wu, et al, Gut, 2015; Wang, et al, Nature Genetics, 2016). We generated a mouse model with intestinal VDR conditional knockout. We reported that ATG16L1, Axin1, and Claudin-2 as novel VDR target genes.

Identification and elucidation of the Salmonella effector protein AvrA in host-bacterial interactions.

Our studies have demonstrated the Salmonella regulation of the intestinal Wnt/β-catenin pathway through bacterial effector protein AvrA in acute and chronic infection models. We reported the first Salmonella-infected colon cancer model. Our lab has developed the first model using intestinal-stem derived organoids to study host-bacterial interactions (Zhang, et al., Physiological Reports 2014).

Characterization of intestinal stem cells in inflammation, infection and cancer.

We reported Salmonella regulation of intestinal stem cells (Liu, et al., FEBS letter, 2010). This finding also led to our award by the New York State’s Empire State Stem Cell Board to study the enteric bacteria and stem cells in inflammation and cancer. Our featured paper reports a novel humanized mouse model to study the tumor progress and intestinal permeability in HIV infection.

Identify novel roles of intestinal barriers and gut microbiome in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

We are pioneers in exploring microbiome and tissue barriers in human ALS and animal models (Wu, et al., Physiological Reports. 2015; Rowin, et al., Physiological Reports. 2017).  Our study has provided novel insights into microbiome in ALS progression and therapy (Zhang, Clinical Therapeutics, et al., 2017).

Lab Highlights

Target Microbiome In Prevention And Treatment Of Human Jin Front Cover

Lab Personnel

NameTitleE-mailPhone number
Jun SunProfessorJunsun7@uic.edu312-996-5020
Yongguo ZhangRes. Assistant Professoryongguo@uic.edu312-996-6010
Rong LuInstructorronglu1@uic.edu312-996-0640
Danika BakkePostdoc.dbakke@uic.edu312-996-6010
Ishita ChatterjeeInstructorishita@uic.edu312-996-6010
Jilei ZhangPostdoc.jileiz@uic.edu312-996-0640
Shari GarrettPH.D studentsgarre5@uic.edu312-996-6010
Carolina BattistiniPH.D studentcbatti4@uic.edu312-996-6010
Lang ZhaPostdoc.lzha3@uic.edu312-996-6010

INSTRUCTIONS: In order to add a sidebar anchor:

  1. Duplicate the existing item, listed as a 1/6 text field. (Or create a 1/6 column and add a text field, modify the class so it’s exactly “additionalAnchor”).
  2. Modify the text field inside the 1/6 column. Inside there, modify the HYPERLINK so that it would go to a corresponding section with a “#” in front of it. (Example, we have a “chief” section on the page, then it would make sense to have the hyperlink go to “#chief”)
  3. Then change the hyperlink TEXT to a appropriate label.
  4. IMPORTANT: If not done already, go into that CONTAINER that corresponds to your anchor (i.e. Meet The Chiefs), and add an ID matching the anchor’s HYPERLINK WITHOUT the “#”, i.e. “chief”.
  5. (If using side bar widget box, then there’s a saved copy of a widget box COLUMN, grab it in the column library, it should 1/6 of a length of a column.)

NOTE: Order added to the sidebar is from last to first.