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Kevin Gao, MD/PhD Student

Talk title: STING-Mediated Autoinflammation in Endothelial Cells Initiates Interstitial Lung Disease

Winner of the RISE: The Robert W. Finberg, MD Memorial Research Training Award - Student Award 

About Kevin:

Kevin MingJie Gao
is an MD/PhD student at UMass Chan, co-mentored in the labs of Drs. Kate Fitzgerald and Ann Rothstein since 2019. During his thesis work, he studied the role of the cGAS-STING nucleic acid sensing pathway through the lens of monogenic autoinflammatory disorders, primarily STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy (SAVI). Using a mouse model of SAVI, Kevin uncovered a role for STING activation in non-hematopoietic cells, particularly endothelium, in promoting lymphocyte-driven autoimmune responses targeting lung tissues. This work not only has therapeutic implications for SAVI patients, but also suggests a broader role for stromal cGAS-STING activation in promoting other inflammatory pathologies. Kevin aspires towards a career as a rheumatology physician-scientist and is interested in the unique roles that stromal cells play in both healthy and pathologic immune responses.