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Ma Laboratory for Immune Engineering Research Overview
The Ma Laboratory for Immune Engineering focuses on three interconnected immune engineering themes:
- Chemical and biomaterials engineering: Dissect and manipulate immune cell-cell and cell-tissue crosstalk for enhanced cellular immunotherapy with improved metabolism, polyfunctionality, and longevity.
- Genetic engineering and synthetic immunology: Create intelligent cells that integrate all environmental signals for decision making and respond with microenvironment-specific therapeutic delivery.
- Protein engineering: Develop safe and potent immune-modulatory proteins (e.g., cytokines, enzymes) with desired trafficking profile, release kinetics, enhanced or novel functions for immunotherapy.
To guide our immune engineering effort, the Ma Laboratory also investigate the fundamentals of cancer immunology. Tumor cells often exhibit phenotypic plasticity, with significant intra- and inter-patient heterogeneity, making it challenging to target all tumor cells via traditional targeted therapy or even targeted immunotherapy (e.g., antibody, CAR T). The team studies many facets of tumor heterogeneity and elucidate how they pose hurdles to immunotherapy, with the goal of identifying key molecular, cellular, and immunological mechanisms that can be leveraged for engineering more effective immunotherapies.