Minji Byun

Picture of Minji Byun
Assistant Professor, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
School of Medicine
Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 2009, Immunology
B.S., POSTECH, South Korea, 2002, Life Sciences
Phone: (949)824-4316
Email: minji.byun@uci.edu
University of California, Irvine
Plumwood House 207D
1003 Health Sciences Rd
Irvine, CA 92617
Research Interests
immune disorder, clonal hematopoiesis, stem cells, epigenetics, DNA methylation
Research Abstract
My group is interested in understanding the impact of genetic variants on the function of immune cells and on predisposition to pathologies driven by the immune system. In particular, we are interested in studying defects of the DNA methylation pathway in the context of aging-associated clonal hematopoiesis. Acquired mutations in DNMT3A (a writer of DNA methylation) and TET2 (an eraser of DNA methylation) are common in the hematopoietic stem cells of elderly individuals, estimated to affect more than 10% of adults over the age of 65. These mutations increase the risk for various age-related comorbidities such as atherosclerosis, thereby nearly doubling the mortality rate of affected individuals. We hypothesize that these mutations impair DNA methylation remodeling that occurs during the differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells, leading to altered gene expression and function of terminally differentiated immune effector cells such as macrophages. We use various cutting-edge human genetic and epigenetic tools and experimental model systems such as human pluripotent stem cell-derived macrophages to address our questions.
Short Biography
Minji Byun, PhD received her B.S. degree in Life Sciences from POSTECH, South Korea, where she studied 3D structures of peptidoglycan recognition proteins by X-ray crystallography. She then moved to the United States to carry out her PhD study at Washington University in St. Louis on poxvirus-encoded immune evasion mechanisms. She performed her postdoctoral studies at Rockefeller University, where she made the novel finding that pediatric Kaposi sarcoma is associated with primary immunodeficiency. Upon completion of her postdoctoral training, she held tenure-track faculty positions at Washington University in St. Louis and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, prior to joining UC Irvine in 2022.
Campisi L, Chizari S, Ho JSY, Gromova A, Arnold F, Mosca L, Mei X, Fstkchyan Y, Torre D, Beharry C, Garcia-Forn M, Jiménez-Alcázar M, Korobeynikov VA, Prazich J, Fayad ZA, Seldin MM, De Rubeis S, Bennett CL, Ostrow LW, Lunetta C, Squatrito M, Byun M, Shneider NA, Jiang N, La Spada AR, Marazzi I. “Clonally expanded CD8 T cells characterize amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-4“, Nature. 2022 Jun 22. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04844-5.

Abyazi ML, Bell KA, Gyimesi G, Baker TS, Byun M, Ko HM, Cunningham-Rundles C, Feng F, Maglione PJ. “Convergence of cytokine dysregulation and antibody deficiency in common variable immunodeficiency with inflammatory complications”, J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2022 Jan;149(1):315-326.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2021.06.008.

Lim J, Duttke S, Baker T, Lee J, Gambino K, Venturini N, Ho JSY, Zheng S, Fstkchyan Y, Pillai V, Fajgenbaum D, Marazzi I, Benner C, Byun M. “DNMT3A haploinsufficiency causes dichotomous DNA methylation defects at enhancers in mature human immune cells”, J Exp Med. 2021 Jul 5;218(7):e20202733. doi: 10.1084/jem.20202733.

Ho JSY, Mok BW, Campisi L, Jordan T, Yildiz S, Parameswaran S, Wayman JA, Gaudreault NN, Meekins DA, Indran SV, Morozov I, Trujillo JD, Fstkchyan YS, Rathnasinghe R, Zhu Z, Zheng S, Zhao N, White K, Ray-Jones H, Malysheva V, Thiecke MJ, Lau SY, Liu H, Zhang AJ, Lee AC, Liu WC, Jangra S, Escalera A, Aydillo T, Melo BS, Guccione E, Sebra R, Shum E, Bakker J, Kaufman DA, Moreira AL, Carossino M, Balasuriya UBR, Byun M, Albrecht RA, Schotsaert M, Garcia-Sastre A, Chanda SK, Miraldi ER, Jeyasekharan AD, TenOever BR, Spivakov M, Weirauch MT, Heinz S, Chen H, Benner C, Richt JA, Marazzi I. “TOP1 inhibition therapy protects against SARS-CoV-2-induced lethal inflammation.”, Cell. 2021 May 13;184(10):2618-2632.e17. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.03.051.

Baker T, Gambino K, Schriefer L, Lim J, Steinberg KM, Fajgenbaum D, García-Sancho A, Byun M. “A novel FAS mutation with variable expressivity in a family with unicentric and idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease”, Blood Adv. 2018 Nov 13;2(21):2959-2963. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2018023911.

Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/minji.byun.1/bibliography/public/
Research Centers
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