Hacking Immune Cells To Expand Their Therapeutic Potential
In the Roybal Lab, we harness the tools of synthetic and chemical biology to enhance the therapeutic potential of engineered immune cells. We take a comprehensive approach to cellular engineering by developing new synthetic receptors, signal transduction cascades, and cellular response programs to enhance the safety and effectiveness of adoptive cell therapies. We also study the logic of natural cellular signaling systems, and the underlying principles of cellular communication and collective cell behavior during an immune response. These interests are complementary as cell engineering is often informed by knowledge obtained from studying natural mechanisms of cell regulation refined by evolution.
The Roybal Lab is a dedicated group of students, post-docs, physicians, and staff scientists with diverse backgrounds ranging from basic science to cellular engineering and synthetic immunology. Each member brings expertise in their field to our unique and highly collaborative research environment.
Media highlights of Roybal Lab's research.
Recent Lab News
Joe Muldoon (co-advised by Justin Eyquem and Kole Roybal) received a Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship this month. Go Joe!
Also, this summer we welcome Maria Chirinos as an undergraduate researcher in the Roybal Lab. Maria is a biology student at CCSF with plans to transfer to U.C. Berkeley and complete a B.S. in cell and molecular biology. She is working on shRNA validation for targets associated with T cell activation.
Congratulations to Camillia Azimi for her Graduate Women in Science Fellowship! The GWIS National Fellowship Program promotes knowledge in the natural and social sciences and encourages women’s academic and professional careers in the sciences. During the 2020-2021 cycle, the highly selective GWIS fellowship distributes research awards to just seven outstanding women scientists. Exceptional work Camillia, you continue to impress!
Throughout the pandemic, three Roybal Lab PhD candidates, Casey Burnett, Camillia Azimi and Julie Garcia, joined a team of scientists at the CZ Biohub to advance rapid-testing capacity for COVID-19 in the Bay Area. This facility was up and running by March 2020, and by the following October had delivered over 150,000 clinical results and a publication in PLOS Pathogens. Recently, Casey, Camillia and Julie were awarded the Dean’s Commendation for Exceptional Volunteerism and University Service, acknowledging their volunteerism, extra effort, and contributions towards UCSF’s response to COVID-19.
This month we published two major papers in Science Translational Medicine demonstrating the many benefits of synNotch CAR circuits for the treatment of solid tumors. The first investigates novel synNotch CAR circuits that enhance tumor recognition through combinatorial antigen signatures in mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. The second, a collaboration with the Lim lab, focuses on the challenges of heterogeneity and persistence when treating glioblastoma. Congratulations to Lab members Axel Hyrenius-Wittsen, Julie Garcia, and the rest of the research team for their outstanding work!