Project Overview

Who we are

Drs. Mickie Cheng and Anthony Shum are investigators at the University of California, San Francisco working in the laboratory of Dr. Mark S. Anderson.  As part of the Diabetes Center at UCSF, we are focused on studying mechanisms of tolerance breakdown that are shared among several autoimmune diseases.  

Our goal

We are interested in studying how the normal mechanisms of tolerance (non-attack of self) break down to lead to autoimmune disease.  To understand how tolerance breaks down, we are comparing the genes and immune function of people with autoimmune disease to those without autoimmunity.  We are particularly interested in how autoimmune attack of single or multiple organs is generated in one individual.
  Our study looks for evidence of autoimmune dysfunction by examining one of the genes involved in multi-organ autoimmune disease, the AIRE gene, and by testing for antibodies to self-tissue, known as autoantibodies.   Studying these autoantibodies can help us understand which antigens or self-tissues the immune system is targeting.  In addition, because of our work in an animal model of autoimmune disease, we are interested in comparing the tissue targets in humans to those identified in our model system.  We hope to find common antigens in order to develop new tests or therapies in the future.