Name: Lingshuang Sun
From: Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang, China
Degrees and institute where received: Veterinary Medicine, Northeast Agriculture University, 2003

Lingshuang Sun came to the University of Kentucky Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center because of her interest in infectious diseases of large animals, including horses. "To work with horses seemed the best choice initially, but it truly turned out to be a perfect decision," she said.

Gluck, being ranked among the top institutes in equine diseases, as well as its location in Lexington, Ky., made it perfect for working with horses, Sun explained.

Sun’s research field is immunology with a focus on the regulation of interferon gamma expression in foals and its role in resistance to Rhodococcus equi (R.equi). R. equi is one of the most serious causes of pneumonia in young foals and is of great concern to breeding farms. While adult horses are resistant to R. equi, foals exhibit an age-related susceptibility. This susceptibility is associated with decreased expression of interferon gamma, an important protein produced by the immune system that is necessary for R. equi resistance. Increased expression of interferon gamma is associated with increased resistance to R. equi infection.

For her dissertation research, Sun characterized the molecular regulation of interferon gamma expression. Her results were the first to show that interferon gamma expression is increased following exposure to microbes in the environment.

Sun said the next research step might be to i