My research focuses on finding novel immunosuppressive pathways in the tumor microenvironment. My previous research has shown that the signaling through adrenergic receptors impair adaptive and innate immune cells’ function and promote immunosuppression. I am currently investigating the role of neurotransmitters in the tumor microenvironment and trying to uncover novel immunosuppressive pathways that can be targeted by repurposing drugs.
My goal is to understand the long-term effect of immune checkpoint blockade therapy. Anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (anti-CTLA-4) treatment induces a low response rate (~11%), while anti-programmed cell death-1 (anti-PD-1) treatment mediates a relatively higher response rate (~30%) in patients with melanoma. Both anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 induce durable responses and mediate a 22% 10-year and 34% 5-year survival rate respectively. However, in order to achieve the durable response, continuous treatment of anti-PD-1 has to be administered while anti-CTLA-4 treatment can only be administered for a short period of time. In addition, 25% of patients who initially respond to these treatment relapse within 2 years. Therefore, it is important to understand the differential effect of checkpoint blockade treatments on the formation of immunological memory.
Alexandria Cogdill is studying how the gut microbiome – which
includes both helpful and harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungus –
influences a patient’s response to cancer immunotherapy. More
specifically her dissertation work seeks to unveil shared immune and
microbiome signatures associated with cancer incidence, prognosis, and
prediction of cancer treatment response and resistance. This effort is
being done in collaboration with ONCOBIOME, a global platform funded
by the EU, enrolling over 9,000 patients across 16 countries, and in
conjunction with ongoing basic science research and innovative
clinical trials. It is anticipated that insights gained with this work
will have an inclusive impact in oncology and provide unique
actionable frameworks with which to broadly assess disease.
My research focuses on prompting the immune system to attack tumor cells using Newcastle disease virus. Newcastle disease virus specifically targets and kills cancer cells, releasing both tumor and viral antigens that stimulate an immune response which then enables immune cell-mediated tumor lysis. By combining Newcastle disease virus with checkpoint blockade, we aim to train the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells, and prevent future relapses.
Xiaojie Yang - email
My research aim is to develop combination therapies for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). It is one of the most lethal malignant cancer because of the poor therapeutic response to the available interventions including immunotherapy. Based on our lab research, therapeutic vaccines can induce robust anti-tumor immune responses. We believe the use of vaccines in combination with checkpoint blockade strategies will increase the response rate that will benefit patients with PDAC.
Current: Sr. Scientist, Spotlight Therapeutics, Hayward, CA
Sr. Research Assistant
Current: PhD student at UCSD