Pattern Recognition Receptors (PPRs) constitute the first line of defense against “non-self” antigens, which are encountered during microbial infections and cancer development. With the characterization of new PRR families, such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs), NOD-like receptors (NLRs), RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs) and cGAS-STING-mediated cytoplasmic DNA-sensing molecules, novel regulatory mechanisms of PRR signaling are rapidly emerging as main cancer immune escape mechanisms. We pioneered in the identification of novel PRR regulators. Our laboratory has developed a unique collection of toolkits in the following areas.
Dr. Lei is an immunologist-oral pathologist. He is an Assistant Professor of Dentistry, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He is a faculty member of the Translational Oncology Program, Head and Neck Oncology Program, Cancer Biology Program, the Graduate Program in Immunology, and the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan School of Medicine. After his Ph.D. training at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC-Chapel Hill, and residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, he completed his Head and Neck Oncology research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Before he was recruited to U-M, he served as a research track faculty member at the Department of Otolaryngology University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Dr. Lei is certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (ABOMP); and participates in the University of Michigan Oral Pathology Biopsy Service. He serves on the editorial board of the official journal of ABOMP, Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology Oral Radiology. He is a recipient of the Leon Barnes award from the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology and the NIH/NIDCR Dentist-Scientist Pathway to Independence Award. He is enthusiastically committed to teaching, molecular immunology and oral health research, and clinical service in the community.
Toktam is the lab manager of Dr. Lei Lab, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry. She has her Masters of Science in Microbiology. She was working at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University and Biology Department at University of Pennsylvania. She was a Microbiologist at NSF International.
Denise is a DDS candidate for the class of 2019 at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University, majoring in Nutrition and Food Science with a minor in Biology. She is volunteering in Dr. Lei’s lab as part of the Research Pathway Program. She has had several years of research experience in a molecular biology lab at Wayne State University, and is enthusiastic about immunology research.
Blake is a PhD student within the Graduate Program in Immunology. He graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Prior to graduate school, he held research positions at UT Southwestern, as a Research Technician in the Department of Pharmacology, and at Baylor College of Medicine / Texas Children's Hospital as a Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) Student.
Dr. Luo is a second-year PhD candidate in the State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University. Presently, he is a joint-training PhD student in Dr. Lei's lab. He is interested in understanding how type 1 interferon signaling regulates the immunogenicity of oral cancer and exploring novel approaches to enhance host anti-tumor immunity.
Yee Sun graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Masters of Science, majoring in Microbiology. She obtained her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (Mentor: Dr Curt Civin). For her postdoctoral training, Yee Sun is currently pursuing research in Dr Lei’s laboratory to study the interactions between cancer and innate immune system at the molecular level, with the long term goal of developing effective immunotherapy against cancer.
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter with a brief description of past research experiences and career goals, an up-to-date curriculum vitae, and contact information of three referees to Dr. Yu Leo Lei (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
A postdoctoral research fellow position is immediately available at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor to work on an interdisciplinary project in the areas of cancer immunology, immunometabolism and cancer biology. Our research group employs a spectrum of cutting-edge genetic and advanced immune engineering approaches to identify novel mechanisms driving cancer immune escape and sensitize cold cancers to immune checkpoint blockade. The candidate will participate in innovative projects with clear translational significance. Our laboratory is located at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center at the North Campus Research Complex. Individuals with expertise in Immunology, Genetics, Metabolism, or Cancer Biology are strongly encouraged to apply. Experiences with cancer mouse models or cancer immunology will be favorably considered.
We are seeking a highly self-motivated research fellow with a recent Ph.D. degree and a background in any of the following areas of research: Immunology, Cancer Biology, Genetics, Metabolism, or Cell Biology.
This position is located at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center at North Campus Research Complex (1600 Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor, MI 48109).
Ann Arbor is a popular destination in the midwest, offering a unique blend of city sophistication and small town charm that appeals to both students and professionals, singles and families. Ann Arbor is consistently voted one of the best places to live in the United States by magazines and newspapers. With its excellent schools, wide variety of sporting and arts activities including seasonal festivals, and acclaimed restaurants, Ann Arbor is said to have the amenities of a city many times its size.
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The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
We are affiliated with the Graduate Program in Immunology, one of the 14 programs of PIBS, and the Oral Health Sciences PhD program. We have active projects to study tumor cell-immune cell interaction for rotation students, and welcome any inquiry regarding the project details.