Position title: Assistant Professor
1111 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
- Dinh Lab
PhD University of Vienna, Austria
- How does the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) influence immunotherapy?
- Can we predict treatment outcomes based on blood-based biomarkers?
- What is the role of neutrophils in cancer?
We are motivated by the question of how the tumor microenvironment changes during cancer progression, before and after treatment. We follow a systems biology approach, using high-dimensional data from multi-omics genome-wide (genomics and epigenomics) and single-cell assays, data mining, and bioinformatics.
- How does the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) influence immunotherapy? We focus on Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), which works by blocking cellular communication (e.g. ligand-receptor interactions) that affect the tumor-killing ability of T cells. Emerging evidence has shown the role of myeloid cells (with both pro- and anti- tumoral functions) in aiding ICB efficiency. We wish to identify the cross-talk between specific myeloid and T cell subsets that are involved in orchestrating the immune responses before and after ICB therapy.
- Can we predict cancer treatment outcomes based on blood-based biomarkers? Identification of predictive markers, especially by non-invasive approach, is an urgent need. We want to define specific immune signatures, with a strong focus on myeloid cells, from blood of cancer patients that can predict the outcome of immunotherapy.
- What is the role of neutrophils in cancer? Neutrophils, the most abundant blood cell-type, have been found elevated in peripheral blood of cancer patients and associated with poor prognosis for multiple types of cancer. However, neutrophil heterogeneity and plasticity in the tumor microenvironment are not widely understood. We recently discovered an early unipotent neutrophil progenitor in human bone marrow marked with a potential role in cancer. We are curious about what types of neutrophils are derived from the neutrophil precursors and how they are diversified in circulation, at tumor and metastasis sites. We wish to answer the question if neutrophil subpopulations and their markers can predict cancer progression and response to treatments.