Welcome: Minji Byun, MD
November 1, 2014
Minji Byun, MD, assistant professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology
Dr. Minji Byun is interested in understanding what makes the human immune system so effective at fighting off infections, and why in some individuals it fails to work properly thereby causing infectious or autoimmune illnesses. She searches for inborn genetic variants associated with an extreme phenotype by studying young patients with unusually severe reaction to a common microbe. She then uses the genetic information as a clue to identify molecular pathways and immunological processes that, when dysregulated, give rise to a specific disease phenotype. Using this approach, she previously discovered that deficiencies in STIM1, a calcium-sensing molecule important for the T cell receptor signaling, or OX40, a T cell co-stimulatory molecule, predispose to Kaposi sarcoma, a cancer caused by human herpsevirus 8 infection. She continues to study early-onset Kaposi sarcoma and other infectious diseases with extreme phenotypes, as well as autoimmune diseases of presumed infectious etiology such as Kawasaki disease.
Dr. Byun received her BS degree in Life Sciences from POSTECH in South Korea and her PhD degree in Immunology from Washington University in St. Louis. She completed postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University in New York before assuming an independent position as a principal investigator at Washington University.New Faculty