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Guppy Tank: A missing link between inflammation and ASD

September 30th, 2021 ~ 04:00pm - 05:00pm

Zoom; please register for details

Harvard's Office of Technology Development and LabCentral invite you to the latest event in the Guppy Tank series, where Harvard life-science innovators pitch their concepts to a panel of entrepreneurs and investors for constructive, in-depth feedback.

Please join us on Zoom to learn from experts on startup formation and participate in giving audience feedback.

Register Here

Featured project:

Presented by Jun Huh, PhD, Associate Professor of Immunology in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School

About the project:

A missing link between inflammation and autism spectrum disorders

Interon, a nascent startup soon to emerge from Prof. Jun Huh’s lab at Harvard Medical School (HMS), intends to develop therapeutics to treat neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). An accumulating body of evidence suggests that core behavioral symptoms in a subset of children with ASD appear to improve during the course of a fever (systemic inflammation). In groundbreaking work, researchers led by Prof. Huh at HMS and Prof. Gloria Choi at MIT have elucidated the molecular and neural mechanisms underlying this effect, demonstrating that inflammation can ameliorate behavioral abnormalities in various preclinical mouse models of autism. Their work explains that increased production of a pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-17a (IL-17a), not the fever per se, drives these beneficial effects. Furthermore, the team has shown that IL-17a, once it gains access into the brain, can function as a neuromodulator by engaging its cognate receptor on cortical neurons. The receptor activation restores a homeostatic level of neural activity of the brain region associated with autism-like symptoms. At launch, Interon intends to harness these new insights to develop biologic and small molecules to modulate the IL-17 receptor function to treat autism-related symptoms. Prof. Huh welcomes constructive feedback from the Guppy Tank panelists, and from the audience, on the commercialization strategy for these innovations.

Read about past Guppy Tank events:

Although we cannot meet in person this time, we look forward to joining you all again at LabCentral as soon as we're able!

Tags: Guppy Tank

Press Contact: Kirsten Mabry | (617) 495-4157

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