National Health Research Institutes
Dr. Huey-Kang Sytwu received his MD degree from National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan in 1987 and PhD degree from Stanford University, USA in 1997. He is currently a distinguished investigator and vice president of National Health Research Institutes. His laboratory focuses on the molecular dissection of autoimmune mechanisms of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and the genetic manipulation in preventing the pathogenic process in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. IDDM is caused by a progressive autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing β cells in the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Both genetic predisposition and environmental factors contribute to its pathogenesis. A widely used animal model for dissecting immunopathological mechanisms in IDDM and for developing preventive and/or therapeutic strategies is the NOD mouse, an inbred strain that spontaneously develops autoimmune diabetes resembling human IDDM. To dissect the immunopathogenic mechanisms of type I diabetes and to develop potential therapeutic strategy for this autoimmune disease, Dr. Sytwu and his labmates have already established more than 30 novel transgenic, knockout and knockdown NOD mice in the Sytwu laboratory. Making full use of these unique mouse strains, Dr. Sytwu and his colleagues are quantitatively and qualitatively investigating the immunopathogenic mechanisms of autoimmune diabetes and provide valuable information for the development of novel genetically modified islets-based immunotherapies.