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Research

Research

Welcome to the Huang Laboratory in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, located at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

T lymphocytes are a critical component of the adaptive immune system and provide protection against both pathogens and cancer. Their activity is exquisitely specific such that T cells attacking a melanoma “antigen” for example would be blind to other tumors or pathogens. However, T cell responses to tumors are more particularly difficult to activate compared to pathogens because tumor cells and normal cells share the vast majority of expressed antigens. T cells are trained to ignore these self-antigens to prevent development of autoimmune diseases.

My lab works to identify fundamental mechanisms for how T cell recognition of different antigens triggers a tumor-specific or pathogen-specific response. We apply this knowledge to engineer chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapies to improve cellular therapies for solid cancers.

We also use multidisciplinary approaches including molecular and cellular immunology, mouse models, microscopy and high throughput sequencing to work collaboratively with Norris Cotton Cancer Center faculty and clinical investigators to understand how tumor-specific memory T cells provide durable protection against cancer recurrences. In collaboration with Dr. Mary Jo Turk's lab, we identified a requirement for the CXCR6-CXCL16 chemokine receptor-ligand axis in maintaining CD8 memory T cells in the skin of mice treated for melanoma. Interactions between CD8 skin resident T cells with CD11c+ myeloid cells are required for ensuring continued protection against melanoma.