My research has been dedicated to integrating synthetic biology, tumor biology, and immunology, to advance cancer immunotherapies. My work has made noteworthy contributions to five areas of cancer immunotherapy: 1) pan-tumor targeting (natural killer cell receptor-based) chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells; 2) pan-tumor targeting bispecific T cell engagers (BiTEs); 3) tumor targeting nanoparticles; 4) cancer-targeting gene circuits; and 5) machine-learning based platform for high-throughput identification of cancer-specific transcription factor sensor (synthetic promoter). I have published these works, as first or co-first author, in high impact journals including Cell, Gene Therapy, Nanotechnology, and Nature Reviews Cancer. Moreover, my doctoral work (1&2) was acquired by an international biopharma, Celyad, and my postdoctoral work (4&5) was licensed to SentiBio, for further clinical development.
My career goal is to harness the tools and design principles of synthetic biology to develop transformative therapies for unmet clinical need. I will first focus on addressing the outstanding challenges in cancer immunotherapy, which include 1) overcoming the lack of ideal targetable tumor surface antigens; 2) mitigating the severe toxicity due to off-target interactions; and 3) overcoming the tumor-mediated immunosuppression.