Lymphocytes and Inflammation

Group leader

Zhi Jane Chen, MD,  PhD
Academy Research Fellow
Turku Centre for Biotechnology
University of Turku
Tykistokatu 6
Turku, Finland
zhi.chen [at] or zhi.chen [at]

Research interests

Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases underlie a vast variety of human diseases. The immune system is often involved with these disorders. We focus on understanding the role of the relatively newly identified subsets of CD4+ T cells, Th17 and iTreg in regulating the inflammatory/autoimmune axis. We study Th17 and iTreg differentiation at multiple levels from mouse and human and integrate the results to build a comprehensive view of the processes.
We are particularly interested in study the regulation and interactions between the immune and hormonal responses and how the interactions contribute to pathogenesis of immune-mediated diseases.
The results of our studies are expected to gain new insight into the molecular mechanisms of lymphocyte differentiation to Th17 and iTreg lineages. This in turn will be important for the development therapeutic strategies that will facilitate rational modulation of the immune response.

Group members

Postdoctoral Fellows

Jitao Guo, Ph.D

Ph.D. Students

Mohammad Imran Ahammad, M.Sc.
Khan Mohd Moin, M.Sc. (co-supervise with Prof. Riitta Lahesmaa)


The Academy of Finland

Selected Publications

Tuomela S, Salo V, Tripathi SK, Chen Z, Laurila K, Gupta B, Aijö T, Oikari L, Stockinger B, Lähdesmäki H, Lahesmaa R. Identification of early gene expression changes during human Th17 cell differentiation. Blood. 2012 Jun 7;119(23):e151-60.

Chen Z, Laurence A, Kanno Y, Pacher-Zavisin M, Zhu BM, Tato C, Yoshimura A, Hennighausen L, O’Shea JJ.: Selective regulatory function of Socs3 in the formation of IL-17-secreting T cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 May 23;103(21):8137-42.

Laurence A, Tato CM, Davidson TS, Kanno Y, Chen Z, Yao Z, Blank RB, Meylan F, Siegel R, Hennighausen L, Shevach EM, O’shea JJ. Interleukin-2 signaling via STAT5 constrains T helper 17 cell generation. Immunity. 2007 Mar;26(3):371-81.

Chen Z, Tato CM, Muul L, Laurence A, O’Shea JJ. Distinct regulation of interleukin-17 in human T helper lymphocytes. Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Sep;56(9):2936-46.

Chen Z, Buki K, Vääräniemi J, Gu G, Väänänen H.K., The critical role of IL-34 in osteoclastogenesis. PLoS One. 2011 Apr 8;6(4):e18689.

Chen Z, Laurence A, O’Shea JJ. Signal transduction pathways and transcriptional regulation in the control of Th17 differentiation. Semin Immunol. 2007 Dec;19(6):400-8.

Chen Z, O’Shea JJ. Regulation of IL-17 production in human lymphocytes. Cytokine. 2008 Feb;41(2):71-8.

Chen Z, O’Shea JJ. Th17 cells: a new fate for differentiating helper T cells. Immunol Res. 2008;41(2):87-102

Jiang JK, Ghoreschi K, Deflorian F, Chen Z, Perreira M, Pesu M, Smith J, Nguyen DT, Liu EH, Leister W, Costanzi S, O’Shea JJ, Thomas CJ. Examining the chirality, conformation and selective kinase inhibition of 3-((3R,4R)-4-methyl-3-(methyl(7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-4-yl)amino)piperidin-1-yl)-3-oxopropanenitrile (CP-690,550). J Med Chem. 2008 Dec 25;51(24):8012-8.

Chen Z, Lund R, Aittokallio T, Kosonen M, Nevalainen O, Lahesmaa R. Identification of novel IL-4/Stat6-regulated genes in T lymphocytes. J Immunol. 2003 Oct 1;171(7):3627-35.