Molecular Understanding and Immunotherapy of Metastatic Cancer

Know What Is This Cancer Immunotherapy And Why Is This Replacing Chemotherapy In Cancer Treatments

Principal Investigator

Xin Lu

Xin Lu, Ph.D.
John M. and Mary Jo Boler Assistant Professor

Department of Biological Sciences;
Junior Chair, Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases;
Full member, Harper Cancer Research Institute;
Cluster Chair, Cellular & Molecular Biology Cluster, Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD Program;
Member, Chemistry-BIochemistry-Biology Interface Program;
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN

Associate Member, Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program
Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, 2017-Present



Phone: 574-631-6592 (office); 574-631-3960 (lab)
Email: xlu@nd.edu
Web: biology.nd.edu/people/xin-lu/

 

Brief Biography
  • John M. and Mary Jo Boler Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame, IN 2017-Present
  • Instructor, Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 2014-2016
  • Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 2011-2014
  • Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 2010-2011
  • Ph.D. (Molecular Biology), Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 2004-2010
  • B.S. (Biological Sciences), Tsinghua University, Beijing, China 2000-2004

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Lab Manager/Research Assistant

Valentin

Valentin Calvillo
vcalvill@nd.edu

Valentin performs essential housekeeping experiments and lab duties, and helps maintain the smooth running of the lab.

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Postdoctoral Researchers

Tianhe Huang

Tianhe Huang
thuang4@nd.edu

Tianhe is investigating prostate cancer from several angles. A liked quote: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish"


Tianhe Huang

Yun Zhao, PhD.
yzhao22@nd.edu

Yun Zhao’s research project is to perform an in-depth characterization of tumor-associated neutrophils (TAN) in metastatic breast cancer. By exploring some of the questions that have yet to be answered, he hopes to manipulate these TANs to combat metastatic breast cancer. His final career goal is to develop potential therapeutics to increase the survial of patients. His motto is “Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well”.

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Graduate Students

Liu

Guoqiang “Orson” Liu
gliu4@nd.edu

Orson is a first-year Ph.D. student from IBMS program, rotating in the Lu lab. He devotes himself to investigating the mechanism of cancer progression and developing possible novel therapies for tumors. Now, he is specifically working on mechanism of androgen receptor(AR) inhibitor resistance and regulation of PD-L1 expression in prostate cancer by CRISPR screening.


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Sean Murphy
smurph20@nd.edu

Sean is a first-year BIOS Ph.D. student, rotating in the Lu lab. He is from Arlington, Indiana. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology from Wittenberg University he acquired a Masters of Science degree from Johns Hopkins University in Biotechnology while also working as a Research Technologist. His main interests include improving immunotherapy for cancer treatment as well as what role diet can play in treating and preventing cancer.


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Sharif Rahmy
Sharif.Rahmy.1@nd.edu

An IBMS graduate student, Sharif identifies intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms underlying resistance to immune checkpoint blockade therapy.


Sun

Miaomiao Sun
msun4@nd.edu

BIOS graduate student in the Lu Lab. I am currently starting the project of mechanisms of VHL disease mutation in patient-derived fibroblasts


Wang

Meidan Wang
mwang13@nd.edu

A BIOS graduate student from China. My interest in cancer research drove me here and doing research related to Cancer Immunotherapy. I love to exercise in the gym which makes me energetic every day, and now I'm trying to develop some interest in football because this is the coolest sport at the ND. Go IRISH!


Yuting Zhang

Yuting Zhang
yzhang49@nd.edu

Yuting Zhang is a first-year IBMS Ph.D. student, rotating in the Lu lab. Now she is focusing on using CRISPR screening to study mechanism of regulation of PD-L1 expression in prostate cancer. Also, she loves Chinese classical dance and folk dance.


Yini Zhu

Yini Zhu
yzhu15@nd.edu

Life is such a beauty, I love and admire it, it makes me crazy. An IBMS graduate student, my project now is creating a new mouse model to have a better knowledge of how the smart but bad tumor escape from immune system.

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Research Visitors and Associates

X Wang

Xuechun Wang
xwang53@nd.edu

Xuechun is a visiting PhD student from Tongji University.


Huang

Gang Huang
ghuang2@nd.edu

“I dream it. I work hard. I grind till I own it.”


Jin

Zhijian Jin
zjin2@nd.edu

Zhijian is a visiting PhD from Shanghai Jiaotong University of Medicine. He is focusing on the mechanism of how genomic alterations of cancer cells remodel tumor microenvironment.

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Undergraduate Students

Antonucci

Sabrina Antonucci
santonuc@nd.edu

Sabrina, a freshman and Mulva Scholar from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, is pursuing chemical engineering on a pre-med track. After spending over a year conducting hepatocellular carcinoma and HBV research at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, Sabrina works with Xuechun Wang in Dr. Xin Lu's Lab. Sabrina's focus in the lab centers around the Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) mouse model and its relation to renal cell carcinoma (RCC). By injecting RCC cell lines that have VHL overexpression into mice, Sabrina hopes to observe the process of tumor formation and test immunotherapy drugs -- like PD-L1 or HIF inhibitors -- on the tumor in order to suppress it. By utilizing the local injection method to induce tumor formation, the mRNA and protein expression changes in these tumors can provide insight into the mechanism of tumor formation as well as potential clinical therapies.


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Louise Medina Bengtsson
lmedinab@nd.edu

Louise works on finding mechanisms of VHL disease.


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Yanting Luo
yluo3@nd.edu

I am interested in the molecules of life, the ways they work together to work organisms minuscule and massive, and how, when a few molecules’ working mechanisms go awry, diseases are triggered. Having gathered some experience exploring the genes of embryogenesis in C. elegans and working on the genetic engineering to express circular RNA with EGFP, I delved into cancer biology in Dr. Susan Gursky’s group through a study of the synergistic growth inhibition of AKBA and curcumin in colorectal cancer. I am currently in Dr. Xin Lu’s lab researching the mechanisms of penile cancer as well as potential treatments that stem from the discoveries.


Mittlesteadt

Jackson Mittlesteadt
jmittles@nd.edu

Jackson is a senior at the University of Notre Dame who works with Yini Zhu. He is interested in determining the mechanism of a specific transcription factor driver for metastatic prostate cancer, and its impact on tumor immune system evasion. He is attempting to specifically determine the effect of the TF on other genes implicated in the polarization from the M1 macrophage type to the M2 macrophage type, the latter of which is observed in tumors. Using his experience in the Lu Lab, Jackson hopes to become a pediatric oncologist with a particular emphasis on immunotherapy.


Pham

Tommy Pham
tpham9@nd.edu

Tommy is a sophomore studying Neuroscience and Behavior at the University of Notre Dame. He is currently working along with Guoqiang “Orson” Liu to examine closely the pathological processes that are associated with the resistance of cancer immunotherapy. Specifically, he is working to see how reactive nitrogen species (RNS), antimicrobial molecules that are generated by myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), contribute to the resistance of cancer immunotherapy.


Billy Porter

Billy Porter
wporter2@nd.edu

A freshman and Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar from Boston, Billy devotes himself to applying computer science in the field of medicine. He believes artificial intelligence not only lessens the limitations of sentient understanding but also can entirely replace humans, even experts, in many areas. With two previous years in experience conducting CyTOF research at Massachusetts General Hospital, Billy is currently in Dr. Xin Lu’s lab working with Sharif Rahmy to help statistically quantify and discover the reasoning behind the mechanisms regarding immune blockade therapy in a tumor microenvironment.


Wilt

Emily Wilt
ewilt@nd.edu

My name is Emily Wilt, and I am a sophomore Science-Business major on the Pre-Med track. I am from the suburbs of Chicago and I now live in McGlinn hall. I am very excited to be working in the Lu lab, as I have always wanted to participate in research. Cancer research is an area of particular interest to me, so I am looking forward to my time working on the projects in the Lu lab.


Kent Hardart
khardart@nd.edu

Kent works with Tianhe Huang.


Jonathan Couri
jcouri2@nd.edu

Jonathan works with Orson Liu.

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Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellows
  • Fang Liu, Ph.D. (Mar – Oct 2018, co-mentored with Dr. Kasturi Haldar) Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow in Kasturi Haldar lab
  • Shan Feng, Ph.D. (2017-2018) Current position: Director, Mass Spectrometry Core Facility, School of Life Sciences, Westlake University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Graduate Students
  • Xi Cheng: Visiting PhD student 2018. Current position: physician scientist in Shanghai, China
Undergraduate students
  • Christian Frederickson (2019)
  • William Morgenlander (2018), Honors Program, Outstanding Biological Scientist Award 2018
  • Sam Arroyo (2018)
  • Xiao Han (exchange student from Sichuan University, 2018)
Visiting Scholars
  • Jiling Wen: Visiting scholar (2018-2019), urologist

Lab Manager/Research Assistant
  • Seema Chaudhary (2017-2018)