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Chief Academic Officer at Beth Israel Lahey Health, Dr. Gyongyi Szabo, joins the show to discuss her research on the role of inflammation in innate immunity and liver disease.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What is meant by innate immunity and what type of cells are involved in phases of the immune response
  • In what way it is an overactivation of innate immunity as opposed to a lack of innate immunity that is the real issue in many diseases
  • What evolutionary process is responsible for low-level inflammation in certain diseases such as hepatitis C and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • How the blockage of the inflammasome complex has been shown to reduce the effect of alcohol-induced liver disease in mice, and what sort of promise this might hold for the treatment of alcoholic liver disease in humans

For nearly 20 years, Dr. Szabo has been studying innate immunity, innate cell function, and signal transduction pathways.
The focus in her lab is on various types of liver diseases that have an inflammatory component, which accounts for almost all liver injuries and chronic liver diseases.

The goal of her research is to gain a better understanding of what causes the inflammatory response in certain liver diseases with the hopes of intervening with certain medications or treatments that would benefit patients suffering from liver disease.

She discusses the difference between innate and adaptive responses of the immune system, how the evolutionary-preserved pattern-recognition receptors that are normally activated by pathogens can also recognize damage-associated molecular patterns, thus leading to low-level systemic inflammation, in what ways her research might lead to an effective treatment for alcohol-related liver disease, and more.

 

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