Overview

The ultimate goal of the Kim Lab is to understand how the immune system interacts with the nervous system to shape sensory perception. By studying the sensation of itch, we seek to understand three fundamental aspects of inflammation and sensory dysfunction. First, our lab is focused on understanding the regulatory mechanisms that arise from the skin barrier to influence immune cells that orchestrate immunity and inflammation. Second, we are interested in solving how factors released from the epidermis directly trigger sensory neurons to evoke sensations of itch. Third, and finally, we aim to unravel the precise mechanisms by which tissue-resident immune cells directly stimulate the sensory nervous system in the setting of chronic itch. Collectively, these scientific programs have therapeutic implications for numerous inflammatory skin disorders and chronic itch disorders including atopic dermatitis or eczema and chronic idiopathic dermatitis. More broadly, the fundamental mechanisms unveiled by our studies may extend to a number of other inflammatory and neurophysiological disorders beyond the skin including asthma, food allergy, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome.