The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Immunology
My laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms regulating antitumor immunity, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases, focusing on two major areas. (1) Dissecting the signaling network and transcriptomic regulators of T cell activation and tolerance, metabolic reprogramming, effector functions, and exhaustion in antitumor immunity and autoimmune/inflammatory diseases. (2) Characterizing the pattern-recognition receptor (PRR) pathways mediating innate immune cell function in T cell differentiation, tumor microenvironment, and inflammation.
T cells play a central role in immune responses against infections and cancer and, when disregulated, also contribute to autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. The activation of T cells is tightly regulated so that they efficiently respond to foreign antigens but are tolerant to self-antigens. While T cell tolerance prevents autoimmunity, it posts an obstacle to antitumor immunity and cancer immunotherapty. In tumor microenvironment, T cells are also rendered metabolically insufficient, hypofunctional, a state known as exhaustion. Better understanding the signaling mechanisms that regulate T cell activation, tolerance, and exhaustion is instrumental for improving therapeutic approaches in the treatment of both cancer and autoimmune diseases. We are using molecular, genetic, and immunological approaches to study the normal and abnormal functions of T cells. In addition, we are studying how PRR signaling in innate immue cells regulates T cell functions, tumor microenvironment, and inflammation.
Our research projects employ cutting-edge molecular and immunological techniques, such as single-cell profiling, multi-color flow cytometry, bioID screening for signaling complexes, and analysis of post-translational protein modifications (phosphoryation, ubiquitination, etc). We are also using innovative knockout/knockin mice and mouse models of cancer immunotherapy and inflammatory diseases. A tutorial in my laboratory will provide experience in signal transduction, T cell biology, innate and adaptive immune function, and animal models of cancer immunity and inflammatory diseases.
Education & Training
PhD, Stockholm University, 1992