Tian group



Li Tian, PhD
Docent in Biochemistry, Academy Research Fellow, Project Leader
P.O. Box 56, FI-00014 University of Helsinki
Phone: +358 2941 57613
Email: li-dot-tian-at-helsinki-dot-fi


Neuroimmune interaction in immune-related brain disorders

Parallel advances in neuroscience and immunology highlight the importance of bidirectional interactions between the nervous and immune systems in maintenance of the physiological homeostasis of the brain and mind, as well as to control immune functions. Abnormal proinflammatory activation of innate and adaptive immune cells may be detrimental for the brain development and functions and propagate the onset or progression of mental disorders and neurological diseases. Vice versa, mood disorders and abnormal development of the nervous system may also affect immune cell development and functions, which jeopardizes defensive and restorative capabilities of a host towards bodily diseases such as infections, cancers, and autoimmune diseases.   

The research of my group follows two major lines. Our bottom-up research line focuses on the role of immune activation in controlling the brain development, behaviors and neuropsychiatric diseases. Our top-down research line focuses on the role of the nervous system in regulation of immune cell development and activation, e.g. the importance of mind-body connection in somatic diseases, such as inflammation, autoimmune disease, and neoplasia. We study both human patients and rodent disease models and use cutting-edge genetic and laboratorial approaches to holistically evaluate the brain-immune crosstalk. Our current major focuses are: 

  1. The role of peripheral and central immune activation in the brain development and behaviors.  
  1. Development and activation of innate and adaptive immune cells in the primary and secondary lymphoid organs regulated by the autonomic nervous system. 

Funding: Academy of Finland, EU_FP7, NSFC, etc

Teaching activity: We organize the course “Immunity in the central nervous system and its role in neuropsychiatric and neurological diseases” in the University of Helsinki (3 ECT; Syllabus: CellImmCNS: www.helisci.fi/fgsn-courses/immunology). The course is selected and financed as a FENS-IBRO training course for international PhD students in 2016.