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
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!
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 March we welcomed Pavithran Ravindran to the Roybal Lab. Pav joins us from the Toettcher Lab at Princeton University where he engineered synthetic gene circuits to study dynamic cell signaling. He joined the Roybal lab this spring as a staff scientist to work on environmental sensing and plans to begin a MD/PhD program this Fall.
This month PhD Candidates Julie Garcia and Casey Burnett both received F31 (Kirschstein-NRSA program) Grants to further their research in the Roybal Lab. Go Julie and Casey!