Cytokines, such as interleukins, growth hormone and prolactin control the physiology of virtually every cell type, both
during normal physiology and in disease. Cytokines employee two components from the cellular tool box, tyrosine kinases
from the JAK family and transcription factors from the family of Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription
(STAT), to transmit their information from receptors to the nucleus, where they activate genetic programs.
Blunted JAK-STAT signaling results in multiple developmental and physiological defects in humans and mice,
ranging from an impaired immune system to stunted body growth. Conversely, inappropriate activation of STATs has
Been linked to various tumors, including leukemia and breast cancer.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health investigate molecular underpinnings of JAK-STAT signaling in physiology
and disease. Our research approaches problems of great relevance from different angles. We use tools of molecular biology,
biochemistry and mouse genetics, contemporary genomics and bioinformatics as well as clinical research.
The goal of this Trans-NIH JAK-STAT Initiative is the comprehensive understanding of a signaling pathway central to
human physiology, and thereby contributing to the prevention and cure of disease.