Tumor Microenvironment, Tumor Immunity and Immunotherapy, Metastasis, Multi-Omics

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

Xin Lu

Xin Lu, Ph.D.

John M. and Mary Jo Boler Collegiate Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Notre Dame

Full member, Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI);
Full member, Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases (CRND);
Cluster Chair, Cellular & Molecular Biology Cluster, Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS)
PhD Program;
Member, Warren Family Center for Drug Discovery;
Member, Chemistry-Biochemistry-Biology Interface (CBBI) Program;
Member, Eck Institute for Global Health (EIGH);
Member, Berthiaume Institute for Precision Health (BIPH).
Full Member, Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program,
Indiana University Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, Indianapolis, IN

Phone: 574-631-6592 (office); 574-631-3960 (lab)
Email: xlu@nd.edu
Web: biology.nd.edu/labs/lu-lab/
twitter/X: @XinLu_NotreDame

Brief Biography

  • John M. and Mary Jo Boler Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame, IN 2022-Present
  • John M. and Mary Jo Boler Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame, IN 2017-2022
  • 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

Farhat Firdous

I hold a Ph.D. from Lahore University of Management Sciences, with a specialization in Biochemistry, specifically focused on microtubule targeting agents. My enthusiasm for research led me to join the Lu Lab, where I honed my skills. Within this role, I actively contribute to ensuring animal and regulatory compliance, managing inventory and finances, and performing technical procedures.


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Postdoctoral Researchers

Xinyi “Shane” Qi, MB, PhD

Xinyi earned his PhD from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, specializing in mucosal immunology. He also holds a medical bachelor's degree and completed a pediatric residency at Shanghai Children's Medical Center. His academic and clinical experiences have fostered a strong interest in immunotherapy for cancer and auto-inflammatory diseases. He is dedicated to investigating the pivotal role of the inflammatory microenvironment in influencing malignancy development.

Yan Liu, PhD

I got my PhD degree at Purdue University, specializing in the field of Microbiology and Biochemistry with a specific focus on host-microbe interactions. Throughout my PhD research, I developed a keen interest in cancer biology and immunotherapy, which ultimately led me to make the decision to join the Lu lab.




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Graduate Students (PhD track)

Minzhi Liang

Minzhi Liang

I completed my B.S. in China and earned my M.S. at UCI, during which I explored the function of XIST long non-coding RNA in ovarian cancer. Throughout the years, I came to realize that I love research and my interest has evolved to study and explore cancer biology. Outside the lab, I enjoy reading fantasy novels and watching movies.

Shiyu Wang

Shiyu Wang

I have a background in pharmacology and tumor immunology. I am working on tumor immunotherapy now. Also, I like birding and soccer!

Loan Duong Cropped

Loan Duong

Loan is from San Jose, California. She is interested in understanding immunological mechanisms underlying cancer and metastasis as well as improving methods of immunotherapy. 


Xuechun Wang Cropped

Xuechun Wang

Xuechun investigates the function of VHL/HIF signaling and the underlying mechanism for the VHL disease. Xuechun is also interested in single cell technologies and the associated computational analysis.


Guoqiang “Orson” Liu

Orson 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.


Yuting Zhang

Yuting Zhang

Yuting is focusing on how the genotype of cancer influences the phenotype of the immune cells in the tumor microenvironment. Yuting loves Chinese classical dance and folk dance.


Ziyu Zeng Cropped

Ziyu Zeng

Now a BIOS graduate student, Ziyu is from Guangzhou, China. Ziyu received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences with a supplementary major in ACMS. She is passionate about combining the power of bioinformatics and benchwork to decipher the cancer-cell-intrinsic mechanisms that shape the immunosuppressive microenvironment.




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Undergraduate Students

Catherine Chung

Catherine Chung

Catherine Chung is a junior at the University of Notre Dame with a double major in Science PreProfessional Studies and English and a minor in Compassionate Care in Medicine. Passionate about scientific research and education, Catherine enjoys immunology and oncology research for its translational, fascinating, and important applications. In the Lu Lab, Catherine works with Dr. Sheryl Lu to optimize a multiplex staining protocol for human prostate and bladder tissue samples and compile a database of clinical samples. Catherine hopes to pursue an M.D. or an M.D./Ph.D. upon graduation from the University of Notre Dame in 2025.

Ella Foster

Ella Foster

Ella Foster is a sophomore from Danville, California. She is majoring in Biochemistry wit ha minor in Sustainability, and is a Hesburgh-Yusko scholar in the Glynn Family Honors Program. She is working with Dr. Sheryl Lu, Samir El Idrissi, and Rachel Whitehead on exploring ways to improve immunotherapy treatment for castration-resistant prostate cancer. She is also very interested in STudying the tumor microenvironment to develop immunotherapy cancer treatments.

Jiye Hutchinson

Jiye is a junior majoring Neuroscience and behavior and minoring in Sociology on a pre-med track. She is from Busan, South Korea and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. She is working with Dr. Sheryl Lu on two prostate cancer cell lines and studying the genetic component of them. Jiye hopes to receive an MD and become a surgeon.

Ella Hall

Ella Hall

Ella is a sophomore majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Science & Patient Advocacy from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Along with her research interests in cancer biology, she is very passionate about rare disease advocacy. After her undergraduate education, she hopes to pursue an MD.

William Pater

William Pater is a sophomore majoring in biological sciences and minoring in theology. He is originally from Tolland, Connecticut. He is interested in tumor immunity, mechanisms of metastasis, and tumor immunotherapy. William plans on pursuing an MD or MD-PhD post-graduation

Jack Szymanski

Jack is a junior living in Keough Hall and double-majoring in Biological Sciences and Music Performance with a minor in the Glynn Family Honors Program. He started working with Ziyu Zeng after joining the Lu Lab in Fall 2023.

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Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Zhongshun Liu (2022-2023) Current position: Research Fellow, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Yun Zhao, Ph.D. (2019-2023) Current position: Senior Scientist at a cancer immunotherapy company in Shanghai, China
  • Tianhe Huang, M.D., Ph.D. (2018-2021), current position: Physician oncologist, China
  • 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

  • Sean Murphy: PhD in Biological Sciences (2019-2024), Thesis on “Killing cancer with keto: an investigation about the efficacy of a ketogenic diet to treat and prevent castration resistant prostate cancer and clear cell renal cell carcinoma”. Current position: Associate Clinic Trial Manager, Medpace, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Sharif Rahmy:  PhD in Integrated Biomedical Science (IBMS), 2017-2022. Thesis on “overcoming resistance to immune checkpoint blockade therapy”. Current position: Senior Scientist in-vivo early oncology, AstraZeneca. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/srahmy/
  • Yini Zhu: PhD in Integrated Biomedical Science (IBMS), 2018-2022. Thesis on “Targeting the cancer-cell-intrinsic mechanisms to reverse the immunosuppressive landscape and enhance immunotherapy in prostate cancer”.  Current position: Senior Scientist, a leading CRO company in China.
  • Miaomiao Sun: Master of Science (2018-2020), thesis on “Antibody-drug conjugate efficacy for breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers”. Current position: PhD Program in Cancer Biology, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland
  • Meidan Wang: Master of Science (2018-2020), thesis on “Combined immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy for colon and ovarian cancers”. Current position: PhD Program in Oncology and Cancer Biology, The University of Freiburg, Germany

Undergraduate students

  • Ariana Arce (2023), now PhD student in UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Keegan Gilbert (2023)
  • Hawraa Al Janabi (2023)
  • Caroline Kaczmarek (2023)
  • Maxim Manyak (2023)
  • Rachel Whitehead (2023)
  • Michael Chou (2023)
  • Marco Napolitano (2022)
  • Eun Suh Sung (2022), now at Columbia University for a MA in Biotechnology
  • Emily Wilt (2022)
  • Elizabeth Kerner (2022)
  • Tommy Pham (2022)
  • Ziyu "Platina" Zeng (2022)
  • Sam Arroyo (2018)
  • Hope Baldwin (2021)
  • Louise Medina Bengtsson (2021), currently MD/PhD Program, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
  • Rhea Desouza (2021)
  • Christian Frederickson (2019)
  • Xiao Han (exchange student from Sichuan University, 2018)
  • Yanting Luo (2020), Honors Program, Paul F. Ware, M.D. Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. Current position: PhD student in Duke University
  • Jackson Mittlesteadt (2020), currently medical student in Ohio University, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • William Morgenlander (2018), Honors Program, Outstanding Biological Scientist Award 2018. Current position: MD/PhD student in John Hopkins University)

Lab Manager/Research Assistant

  • Valentin Calvillo (2019-2020)
  • Seema Chaudhary (2017-2018)
  • Xiaoxia Peng (2019-2023)
  • Jessica Weaver (2022-2023)
  • Anna Huron (2023)

High School Scholars

  • Selma Imamovic (2022), Research Cures Cancer Corps, Harper Cancer Research Institute