Assistant Professor (2021)
Lab Website: TBA
Publications: Maria Tokuyama's Publications
History: B.Sc. University of California, Irvine; Ph.D. University of California, Berkely; Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Yale University School of MedicinePost-Doctoral Fellowship, University of California San Francisco (1998-2002)
As citizens of the scientific biosphere, we value representation of diverse individuals who advance science and enrich the scientific community. We welcome scientists from underrepresented backgrounds, and as a team, we are committed to reforming institutional culture and policies that perpetuate racism and exclusion in science.
The core of our research is to understand how chronic interaction between viruses and the immune system impacts immunity at steady state and during inflammation. We study endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), which are viral sequences in our genome that originated from exogenous viruses and have undergone an evolutionary arms race with the host for millions of years. Despite outnumbering coding sequences by 4-fold across different organisms, ERVs have been largely ignored as “junk DNA” and the physiological functions of ERVs in immunity remains poorly understood.
We currently have multiple projects aimed at uncovering how the interaction between ERVs and the immune system impacts antiviral immunity and excessive inflammation in autoimmunity. We rely on multidisciplinary approaches and novel tools in virology, immunology, and computational genomics.
Ultimately, our goal is to identify novel endogenous viral factors that underlie immunity and contribute towards development of immune modulators to treat infections and chronic inflammatory diseases.