Keiko Ozato, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Section on Molecular Genetics of Immunity


NIHBC 06A 2A01


Research Topics

Gene Regulation in Innate Immunity

Gene Regulation in Innate Immunity
We are interested in epigenetic regulation of innate immunity, as it relates to transcription and chromatin. We study activity of three key proteins, [1] DNA specific transcription factor IRF8, [2] Variant histone H3.3, [2] Chromatin reader BRD4. We investigate these factors in microglia (macrophage like cells in the brain) and peripheral monocytes/macrophages. Their roles are tested in chronic inflammation, particularly neuroinflammation by focusing relevant disease models. Our purpose is to clarify how these factors control transcriptome and generate epigenetic memory.


Keiko Ozato, Ph. D is a tenured senior investigator in the NICHD, NIH for more than 30 years. Over the years Dr. Ozato has directed a 8-14 member lab and published more than 400 research articles in well established, peer reviewed journals. She has been active in the research community, and was President of ISICR, renamed recently ICIS, a large international society representing cytokine/interferon research. For her contribution to research and effort to promote diversity in the research community, helping Japanese scientists in the USA, Dr Ozato received the Order of Sacred Treasure, a Medal from the Emperor of Japan in 2012.
Dr. Ozato has been on the Editorial Boards of s number of journals and has recently served as an invited topic editor for Frontiers of Immunology. She is an organizer of the upcoming NIH symposium on Trained Innate Immunity and epigenetic memory.

Selected Publications

  1. Das A, Wang X, Kang J, Coulter A, Shetty AC, Bachu M, Brooks SR, Dell'Orso S, Foster BL, Fan X, Ozato K, Somerman MJ, Thumbigere-Math V. Monocyte Subsets With High Osteoclastogenic Potential and Their Epigenetic Regulation Orchestrated by IRF8. J Bone Miner Res. 2021;36(1):199-214.
  2. Divangahi M, Aaby P, Khader SA, Barreiro LB, Bekkering S, Chavakis T, van Crevel R, Curtis N, DiNardo AR, Dominguez-Andres J, Duivenvoorden R, Fanucchi S, Fayad Z, Fuchs E, Hamon M, Jeffrey KL, Khan N, Joosten LAB, Kaufmann E, Latz E, Matarese G, van der Meer JWM, Mhlanga M, Moorlag SJCFM, Mulder WJM, Naik S, Novakovic B, O'Neill L, Ochando J, Ozato K, Riksen NP, Sauerwein R, Sherwood ER, Schlitzer A, Schultze JL, Sieweke MH, Benn CS, Stunnenberg H, Sun J, van de Veerdonk FL, Weis S, Williams DL, Xavier R, Netea MG. Author Correction: Trained immunity, tolerance, priming and differentiation: distinct immunological processes. Nat Immunol. 2021;22(7):928.
  3. Milner JJ, Toma C, Quon S, Omilusik K, Scharping NE, Dey A, Reina-Campos M, Nguyen H, Getzler AJ, Diao H, Yu B, Delpoux A, Yoshida TM, Li D, Qi J, Vincek A, Hedrick SM, Egawa T, Zhou MM, Crotty S, Ozato K, Pipkin ME, Goldrath AW. Bromodomain protein BRD4 directs and sustains CD8 T cell differentiation during infection. J Exp Med. 2021;218(8).
  4. Murakami K, Sasaki H, Nishiyama A, Kurotaki D, Kawase W, Ban T, Nakabayashi J, Kanzaki S, Sekita Y, Nakajima H, Ozato K, Kimura T, Tamura T. A RUNX-CBFβ-driven enhancer directs the Irf8 dose-dependent lineage choice between DCs and monocytes. Nat Immunol. 2021;22(3):301-311.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Thursday, October 19, 2023