Keiko Dawid, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Section on Molecular Genetics of Immunity


6A 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. Yoshida Y, Yoshimi R, Yoshii H, Kim D, Dey A, Xiong H, Munasinghe J, Yazawa I, O'Donovan MJ, Maximova OA, Sharma S, Zhu J, Wang H, Morse HC 3rd, Ozato K. The transcription factor IRF8 activates integrin-mediated TGF-β signaling and promotes neuroinflammation. Immunity. 2014;40(2):187-98.

  2. Kurotaki D, Yamamoto M, Nishiyama A, Uno K, Ban T, Ichino M, Sasaki H, Matsunaga S, Yoshinari M, Ryo A, Nakazawa M, Ozato K, Tamura T. IRF8 inhibits C/EBPα activity to restrain mononuclear phagocyte progenitors from differentiating into neutrophils. Nat Commun. 2014;5:4978.

  3. Kanno T, Kanno Y, LeRoy G, Campos E, Sun HW, Brooks SR, Vahedi G, Heightman TD, Garcia BA, Reinberg D, Siebenlist U, O'Shea JJ, Ozato K. BRD4 assists elongation of both coding and enhancer RNAs by interacting with acetylated histones. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2014;21(12):1047-57.

  4. Gupta M, Shin DM, Ramakrishna L, Goussetis DJ, Platanias LC, Xiong H, Morse HC 3rd, Ozato K. IRF8 directs stress-induced autophagy in macrophages and promotes clearance of Listeria monocytogenes. Nat Commun. 2015;6:6379.

  5. Liang Q, Deng H, Li X, Wu X, Tang Q, Chang TH, Peng H, Rauscher FJ 3rd, Ozato K, Zhu F. Tripartite motif-containing protein 28 is a small ubiquitin-related modifier E3 ligase and negative regulator of IFN regulatory factor 7. J Immunol. 2011;187(9):4754-63.

This page was last updated on October 23rd, 2019