The pandemic outbreak of highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) became a major threat to our physical health. Meanwhile, the rapid spreading of COVID-19 and related countermeasures (particularly lockdowns) negatively affected our mental wellbeing, due to disease progression-induced fear and fatigue, social distancing and isolation, family conflicts during quarantine, supply shortages, unemployment, and increased financial burden. Accumulating evidence suggest that stress is associated with increased susceptibility to and severity of viral infection, which can be at least partially explained by systemic changes in anti-viral innate and adaptive immunity, as well as dysregulated inflammatory and autoimmune responses. In addition, pandemic-related psychological stress may influence the efficacy of viral vaccines. Thus, deciphering the underlying molecular links between psychological stress and viral infection-associated immune-inflammatory alternations will provide novel insights to the development of optimal therapeutic interventions and prophylactic vaccines.
Yuting Ma received her PhD degree in Immunology from Université Paris sud 11, followed by post-doc trainings in INSERM, Institut Gustave Roussy, and Cordelier Research Center in Paris. To extend the pursuit of research in tumor immunology, she has established a laboratory in Suzhou Institute of Systems Medicine (SISM), Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences since 2015.
Her research focus is to decipher how multi-level stress responses (therapy-induced cellular stress responses and environmental stressor-induced psychological stress responses) modulate immune reactions.
With the approaches of systems medicine, she aims to explore how various forms of stress responses and cell death modalities, including autophagy, apoptosis, necroptosis, ER stress, pyroptosis, and ferroptosis, modulate the immunogenicity of cancer cells and the immune contexture within the tumor microenvironment.
She also aims to dissect the complex circuitries that link psychosocial distress to deleterious perturbations in the cancer-immune dialogue.
Lilin Ye, pricincipal investigator from Institute of Immunology, Third Military Medical University, China. His research mainly focus on dissecting T cell immune responses to viral infection and cancer.