Hacking Immune Cells To Expand Their Therapeutic Potential

Our Research

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.

Our Partners


Our People

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.
'Smart' immune cells kill tumours and stop them regrowing in mice
Attacking glioblastoma and other solid tumors with CAR-Ts that target multiple antigens
Tweaking Mother Nature, biologists aim for better cancer-fighting cells
'Cell Bots' Chase Down Cancer, Deliver Drugs Directly to Tumors
Synthetic Notch receptors were featured in Notable Advances 2016
Kole Roybal receives the inaugural Sartorius & Science Magazine Prize in Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy 2018
Boosting the immune system to fight cancer
Cell Design Labs, Little Partner Of Kite Pharma, Pushes T-Cell Engineering Frontier

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Looking forward to attending and giving a talk at the Workshop! It will be great to see and ...catch-up with some of my most influential colleagues!

This week has been a whirlwind with the announcement of our $220M Series B fundraise. I'm grateful ...to be working with an amazing team and to have the trust and support of our world-class investors.

Recent Lab News

June 2022

In the early days of the pandemic, while most of us were just trying to avoid getting sick, Casey Burnett spent her time profiling immune cells of patients hospitalized with COVID-19.  Her work was published this June in Immunity. Truly an impressive paper made even more so by the conditions under which the data was collected. Outstanding work Casey!

May 2022

After completing his rotation, Ph.D. Student Max Foisey has officially joined the Roybal Lab.  Congratulations Max, we are excited to have you!



April 2022

The Roybal lab is looking for Postdocs and Staff Scientist to join our team!   We are starting a number of new and exciting synthetic biology and cell therapy projects that you can be a part of.  Things are moving fast, please get in touch with us by emailing your CV, including references and a brief statement of interest.

March 2022

We are excited to share our latest paper published in Cell! Congratulations to Ray Liu and Iowis Zhu for leading the development of clinically optimized and tunable nextgen synNotch receptors (dubbed SNIPRs) for cell therapies.   This was a major effort involving many members of lab including Julie, Axel, Dan P., and Josef.