Molecular Understanding and Immunotherapy of Metastatic Cancer
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 (CRND);
Full member, Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI);
Cluster Chair, Cellular & Molecular Biology Cluster, Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS);
Member, Chemistry-Biochemistry-Biology Interface (CBBI) Program;
Member, Warren Family Center for Drug Discovery;
Member, Eck Institute for Global Health (EIGH);
Member, Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics (AD&T);
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN
Associate Member, Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program
Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Indianapolis, IN
Phone: 574-631-6592 (office); 574-631-3960 (lab)
- 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
Lab Manager/Research Assistant
Xiaoxia performs important technical assistance work to facilitate the research in the lab.
Tianhe is investigating prostate cancer from several angles. A liked quote: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish"
Yun Zhao, PhD.
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”.
Guoqiang “Orson” Liu
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.
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.
An IBMS graduate student, Sharif identifies intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms underlying resistance to immune checkpoint blockade therapy.
BIOS graduate student in the Lu Lab. I am currently starting the project of mechanisms of VHL disease mutation in patient-derived fibroblasts
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 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.
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.
Research Visitors and Associates
Xuechun is a visiting PhD student from Tongji University.
“I dream it. I work hard. I grind till I own it.”
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.
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.
Hope works with Yun Zhao to investigate the function of neutrophils in breast cancer.
Louise Medina Bengtsson
Louise works on finding mechanisms of VHL disease.
Rhea works with Sean Murphy to investigate tumor metabolism.
Hawraa Al Janabi
From San Francisco, California, Hawraa is a freshman Balfour-Hesburgh Scholar, studying Neuroscience and Behavior on a pre-med pathway. Interested in the intersection of the fields of immunology and oncology, Hawraa works with Yini Zhu to explore pathways of metastasis in prostate cancer. Additionally, Hawraa is also interested in new approaches to immunotherapy that provide more targeted treatment to cancer by identifying the specific pathway of metastasis. In the future, Hawraa hopes to receive an MD/PhD and conduct research in the field of Neuro-oncology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 works with Tianhe Huang.
- 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
- Xi Cheng: Visiting PhD student 2018. Current position: physician scientist in Shanghai, China
- Christian Frederickson (2019)
- William Morgenlander (2018), Honors Program, Outstanding Biological Scientist Award 2018
- Sam Arroyo (2018)
- Xiao Han (exchange student from Sichuan University, 2018)
Jiling Wen: Visiting scholar (2018-2019), urologist
Lab Manager/Research Assistant
- Valentin Calvillo (2019-2020)
- Seema Chaudhary (2017-2018)