• 07/29/2020  Takeya's co-first author paper is now published on Cell.  Great colla. w/ Chenqi Xu and Catherine Wong!

  • 07/05/2020  Scott has completed an honor thesis and graduated from UCSD with Magna Cum Laude!

  • 05/21/2020  Xiaozheng's paper has been published on Journal of Cell Biology. Congratulations!

  • 05/16/2020  Yanzhe has been accepted by the graduate program of Columbia University! Congratulations!

  • 03/15/2020  Preston has joined the lab as a PhD student. Welcome!

  • 01/02/2020 Jibin has joined the lab as an research intern. Welcome!

  • 11/05/2019  Yunlong's paper has been been accepted by Immunity. Congratulations!

  • 08/12/2019  Enfu's review article is published on Immunological Reviews!

  • 08/01/2019  Chloe has joined the lab as an lab assistant. Welcome!

  • 07/05/2019  Scott has joined our lab as an undergraduate researcher. Welcome!

  • 04/01/2019  We have been awarded an ESI MERIT (R37) Award from the National Cancer Institute!

  • 03/28/2019  Takeya has been awarded an HFSP postdoctoral fellowship. Congratulations!

  • 02/13/2019  Enfu's inside look on "immune checkpoint inhibitors" is published on Journal of Cell Biology

  • 02/01/2019  Sandy has joined the lab as an undergraduate researcher. Welcome!

  • 11/15/2018  Welcome Ziyan (Judy) to the lab as an undergraduate lab intern!

  • 10/15/2019  Grace Bahbah has joined our lab as a lab assistant. Welcome!

  • 10/01/2018  Takeya has joined the lab as a Postdoctoral Scholar. Welcome!

  • 10/01/2018  Welcome our new undergraduate researchers, Yanzhe and George!

  • 07/03/2018  Zijun defended her Master's Thesis! Congratulations, Zijun!

  • 06/21/2018  Yunlong has been awarded a CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship. Congratulations!

  • 06/14/2018  Enfu has been named a 2018 Pew Scholar. Congratulations!

  • 06/12/2018​  Yunlong's paper has been accepted by Cell Reports! Congratulations, Yunlong!

  • 06/06/2018​  Sandra presented a poster at the UCSD Biology Research Showcase. Great job, Sandra!

  • 04/03/2018  Congratulations to Enfu who has been named a 2018 Searle Scholar!

Mechanistic dissection of cancer immunotherapy targets

We work at at the interface of biochemistry, cell biology, and immunology. Our central goal is to dissect the cell biological mechanisms of immune checkpoints, "brakes" of our immune system that can be hijacked by tumors to evade immune destruction. Antibody mediated blockade of immune checkpoints has produced some success in treating a subset of tumors in a fraction of patients. However the response is restricted to a small subset of tumors and patients. Molecular studies of immune checkpoints are needed to expand the therapy to a larger population of patients. Our long-term goal is to fill this mechanistic gap, with a joint use of cell-free reconstitution, live cell imaging and cell culture assays. 

Image by Graham Johnson

Cell free reconstitution: We reconstitute signaling networks on model membranes to gain quantitative, in-depth insights into T cell signaling that are invisible to traditional approaches. 

Signaling dynamics: We probe the spatiotemporal dynamics of signaling proteins in live T cells. 

Cell cultures: We develop precise and robust cell culture assays to probe both proximal and distal readouts of immune checkpoints signaling.

Mouse models: We cross-check our findings between in vitro systems and animal models.