Focus of our laboratory:
 

Regulation between immune activation and tolerance is crucial in the pathogenesis of cancer. Recent development of intravital 2-photon microscopy allows direct observation of how immune cells traffic and interact with various cells in the tumor micro-environment in real time with single-cell resolution. 

Our laboratory focuses in applying this and other immunological techniques to study various aspects of anti-tumor immune responses, immune–host–pathogen interaction, T cell-mediated memory immunity, and chemokine-receptor biology.  Ongoing projects include: 

 

1) Investigation into factors which influence the dynamic recruitment of T cells and their interactions with tumor cells and associated antigen-presenting cells in tumor-associated micro-environment

 

2) Imaging dynamic interaction between peri-vascular APC and T cells in the CNS during induction of acute experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

 

3) Discovering molecular signaling mechanisms responsible for the regulation of chemokine receptor expression on naive T cells

 

4) Testing the efficacy of genetically-modified tumor vaccines in the setting of sarcomas and other childhood cancer
 

5) Developing imaging techniques to interrogate immune cell migration and interactions in tissues such as the bone marrow, lung, GI track and the skin.

6) Cellular and molecular mechanisms of metastasis in osteosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and other common AYA and childhood cancer.  

7) Mechanisms of immune checkpoint regulation in solid tumors, including pediatric malignant brain tumors such as Medulloblastoma.   

8) Molecular mechanisms of T-cell Leukemogensis and CNS metastasis.

9) Exploring NK cell-based immunotherapy strategies against common pediatric and AYA cancers.

 

10) Investigate novel functional roles of mechanosensitive ion channels in defining T cell migration, functional polarization and longevity.

The long-term goal of our laboratory is to translate insights gained from basic investigations of in vivo immunity into rationally designed tumor vaccine and immunotherapeutic clinical trials through the newly established (2021) Center for Pediatric Immunotherapy at Rainbow, with a particular emphasis in the areas of pediatric sarcomas and other solid tumors in the pediatric and adolescent & young adult (AYA) populations.