The University of Tokyo
Dr. Hori has been studying the mechanisms of immunological self-tolerance, in particular those that are mediated by regulatory T (Treg) cells. In 2003, together with Dr. Shimon Sakaguchi, he identified Foxp3 as a “master” transcription factor that controls Treg cell development and function. After establishing his own laboratory at RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology in 2004, his group has been studying the mechanisms that control the stability and adaptability of Treg cells. His group demonstrated that the vast majority of Foxp3+ T cells constitute a committed Treg cell lineage that maintains epigenetic memory of Foxp3 expression and suppressive function. However, the immune system harbors a small fraction of Foxp3+ T cells that do not possess such epigenetic memory and differentiate to helper T cells in response to perturbations from the extracellular environment. More recently, his team also uncovered a molecular mechanism that controls the ability of Treg cells to change their phenotype and adapt to various tissue and inflammatory environments. In October 2016, his laboratory moved to the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo.