Kristine Zengeler

It is increasingly recognized that the immune and nervous systems have extensive mechanistic overlap and frequently coordinate to accomplish the proper growth and maturation of an organism. For instance, the brain’s resident immune cells, microglia, are pivotal sculptors of neural circuitry and, furthermore, many immunity-related signaling molecules are utilized by resident cells of the nervous system. My research aims to understand the role of innate immune signaling in the healthy adult brain, specifically in the context of inflammasome activation. Conversely, hyperactive immune signaling can have detrimental consequences on brain development and function. My work also uses the maternal immune activation model of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to investigate the role of microglia and the sex bias that is observed in ASD.