The Joseph Sun Lab

The Sun Lab

The immune system responds to viral infections by introducing a complex interplay of immune cells and factors, whose goal is to eliminate the intruding pathogen. One such effector cell in the antiviral response is the Natural Killer (NK) cell, which secretes inflammatory cytokines and directly kills infected cells. The focus of our research is aimed at defining the signals that NK cells require to mount an effective immune response against pathogens. We are also exploring the regulatory mechanisms keeping NK cells in check, thereby safeguarding against potential autoimmunity.

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Pictured: Joseph Sun

Joseph Sun, PhD

Associate Professor

Research Focus

Immunologist Joseph Sun investigates the natural killer cell response against infection and cancer.


PhD, University of Washington


  • O’Sullivan TE, Rapp ME, Fan X, Weizman O, Bhardwaj P, Adams NM, Walzer T, Dannenberg AJ, Sun JC. 2016. Adipose-resident group 1 innate lymphoid cells promote obesity-associated insulin resistance. Immunity. 45:428-441.
  • Madera S, Rapp M, Firth MA, Beilke JN, Lanier LL, Sun JC. 2016. Type I IFN promotes NK cell expansion during viral infection by protecting NK cells against fratricide. J Exp Med. 213:225-33.
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Selected Achievements

  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in Infectious Disease (2016)
  • Boyer Young Investigator Award for Basic Research (2015)
  • Geoffrey Beene Junior Faculty Chair (2014)
  • AAI Pfizer-Showell Early Career Investigator Award (2012)
  • Searle Scholar Award (2011)

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  • Cancer Research Institute Investigator Award (2011)