Rao Lab

Rao Lab

"The immune system is an ideal model for studying all sorts of biochemical processes - development, the regulation of gene expression, alternative splicing and cellular stress responses, to mention only a few." — Anjana Rao, Ph.D. // Professor, Division of Signaling and Gene Expression
Pfizer Endowed Chair in Cancer Immunology and Oncology

Overview

Our research has been focused on understanding how signalling pathways control gene expression, using T cells and other cells of the immune system as models. There are several aspects to our research. We are particularly interested in a pathway of gene expression that is regulated by calcium influx into many different types of cells: it involves a process known as store-operated calcium entry, which activates a phosphatase, calcineurin, which dephosphorylates and sends a transcription factor, NFAT, to the nucleus. NFAT turns on a large number of genes, in a manner appropriate to the cell type and mode of stimulation; in T cells, it controls both the positive transcriptional programmes of T cell activation and negative programmes known as anergy or exhaustion that attenuate T cell activation. We are using RNA interference and CRISPR/Cas9 screens, mice with targeted gene disruption, high-throughput sequencing and other technologies to analyze how genes are regulated and how loss of function of certain proteins leads to diseases such as autoimmunity, immune deficiencies, developmental defects and cancer. A current important focus involves the TET family of 5-methylcytosine oxidases, which control cell lineage specification in many different systems. Profound TET loss-of-function is associated with aggressive cancers, both in human and in mouse model systems, and we are examining the mechanisms involved.

From The Lab

Mar 14, 2017

The molecular underpinnings of T cell exhaustion

Dec 19, 2016

Exhausted T cells

Dec 12, 2016

Dual loss of TET proteins prompts lethal upsurge in inflammatory T cells in a mouse model of lymphoid cancer

Dec 7, 2016

TET proteins drive early neurogenesis

Dec 9, 2015

TET proteins help maintain genome integrity

Rao Lab

Publications

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA

Leveraging premalignant biology for immune-based cancer prevention

2016-09
Spira A, Disis ML, Schiller JT, Vilar E, Rebbeck TR, Bejar R, Ideker T, Arts J, Yurgelun MB, Mesirov JP, Rao A, Garber…
Nat Genet

DNMT3A and TET2 compete and cooperate to repress lineage-specific transcription factors in hematopoietic stem cells

2016-09
Zhang X, Su J, Jeong M, Ko M, Huang Y, Park HJ, Guzman A, Lei Y, Huang YH, Rao A, Li W, Goodell MA
Bioinformatics

LuxGLM: a probabilistic covariate model for quantification of DNA methylation modifications with complex experimental designs

2016-09
Cell Rep

TET2 regulates mast cell differentiation and proliferation through catalytic and non-catalytic activities

2016-05
Montagner S, Leoni C, Emming S, Della Chiara G, Balestrieri C, Barozzi I, Piccolo V, Togher S, Ko M, Rao A, Natoli G,…
Genome Biol

A probabilistic generative model for quantification of DNA mudifications enables analysis of demethylation pathways

2016-03
Genome Biol

A probabilistic generative model for quantification of DNA mudifications enables analysis of demethylation pathways

2016-03
J Immunol

Cutting edge: NFAT transcription factors promote the generation of follicular helper T cells in response to acute viral infection

2016-03
Martinez GJ, Hu JK, Pereira RM, Crampton JS, Togher S, Bild N, Crotty S, Rao A
J Immunol

Cutting edge: NFAT transcription factors promote the generation of follicular helper T cells in response to acute viral infection

2016-03
Martinez GJ, Hu JK, Pereira RM, Crampton JS, Togher S, Bild N, Crotty S, Rao A
Current Opinion in Cell Biology

DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation in hematologic differentiation and transformation

2015-12
Ko M, An J, Rao A
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

TMEM110 regulates the maintenance and remodeling of mammalian ER-plasma membrane junctions competent for STIM-ORAI signaling

2015-12
Quintana A, Rajanikanth V, Farber-Katz S, Gudlur A, Zhang C, Jing J, Zhou Y, Rao A, Hogan PG
Nature Communications

Acute loss of TET function results in aggressive myeloid cancer in mice

2015-11
An J, González-Avalos E, Chawla A, Jeong M, López-Moyado IF, Li W, Goodell MA, Chavez L, Ko M, Rao A
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Simultaneous deletion of the methylcytosine oxidases Tet1 and Tet3 increases transcriptome variability in early embryogenesis

2015-08
Kang J, Lienhard M, Pastor WA, Chawla A, Novotny M, Tsagaratou A, Lasken RS, Thompson EC, Surani MA, Koralov SB,…
Nature Communications

Cancer-associated ASXL1 mutations may act as gain-of-function mutations of the ASXL1-BAP1 complex

2015-06
Balasubramani A, Larjo A, Bassein JA, Chang X, Hastie RB, Rogher SM, Lähdesmäki H, Rao A
Nature Cell Biology

The histone deacetylase SIRT9 controls embryonic stem cell fate via TET-mediated production of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine

2015-05
Etchegaray JP, Chavez L, Huang Y, Ross KN, Choi J, Martinez-Pastor B, Walsh RM, Sommer CA, Lienhard M, Gladden A, Kugel…
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

RNA-binding protein hnRNPLL regulates mRNA splicing and stability during B-cell to plasma-cell differentiation

2015-04
Chang X, Li B, Rao A
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications

Store-operated calcium entry: mechanisms and modulation

2015-04
Hogan PG, Rao A
Molecular and Cellular Biology

A zerbrafish model of myelodysplastic syndrome Produced through tet2 genome editing

2015-03
Gjini E, Mansour MR, Sander JD, Moritz N, Nguyen AT, Kesarsing M, Gans E, He S, Chen S, Ko M, Kuang YY, Yang S, Zhou Y,…
Immunological Reviews

TET proteins and 5-methylcytosine oxidation in hematological cancers

2015-01
Ko M, An J, Pastor WA, Koralov SB, Rajewsky K, Rao A
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Simultaneous sequencing of oxidized methylcytosines produced by TET/JBP dioxygenases in coprinopsis cinerea

2014-12
Chavez L, Huang Y, Luong K, Agarwal S, Iyer LM, Pastor WA, Hench VK, Frazier-Bowers SA, Korol E, Liu S, Tahiliani M,…
Trends in Genetics

Connections between TET proteins and aberrant DNA modification in cancer

2014-10
Huang Y, Rao A
Immunity

In vivo RNA interference screens identify regulators of antiviral CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell differentiation

2014-08
Chen R, Bélanger S, Frederick MA, Li B, Johnston RJ, Xiao N, Liu YC, Sharma S, Peters B, Rao A, Crotty S, Pipkin ME
Nature Communications

Jarid2 is induced by TCR signalling and controls iNKT cell maturation

2014-08
Pereira RM, Matrinez GJ, Engel I, Cruz-Guilloty F, Barboza BA, Tsagaratou A, Lio CW, Berg LJ, Lee Y, Kronenberg M,…
Nature Immunology

Epigenomic analysis of primart human T cells reveals enhancers associated with TH2 memory cell differentiation and asthma susceptibility

2014-08
Seumois G, Chavez L, Gerasimova A, Leinhard M, Omran N, Kalinke L, Vedanayagam M, Ganesan AP, Chawla A, Djukanovic R,…
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Dissecting the dynamic changes of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in T-cell development and differentiation

2014-08
Tsagaratou A, Aijo T, Lio CW, Yue X, Huang Y, Jacobsen SE, Lahdesmaki H, Rao A
Journal of Immunology

Halofuginone-induced amino acid starvation regulates stat3-dependent th17 effector function and reduces established autoimmune inflammation

2014-03
Carlson TJ, Pellerin A, Djuretic IM, Trivigno C, Koralov SB, Rao A, Sundrud MS
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Lineage-specific expansions of TET/JBP genes and a new class of DNA transposons shape fungal genomic and epigenetic landscapes

2014-02
Iyer LM, Zhang D, de Souza RF, Pukkila PJ, Rao A, Aravind L
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Distinct roles of the methylcytosine oxidases Tet1 and Tet2 in mouse embryonic stem cells

2014-01
Huang Y, Chavez L, Chang X, Wang X, Pastor WA, Kang J, Zepeda-Martinez JA, Pape UJ, Jacobsen SE, Peters B, Rao A
Nature Genetics

Large conserved domains of low DNA methylation maintained by Dnmt3a

2014-01
Jeong M, Sun D, Luo M, Huang Y, Challen GA, Rodriguez B, Zhang X, Chavez L, Wang H, Hannah R, Kim SB, Yang L, Ko M,…
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

ORAI1 calcium channel orchestrates skin homeostasis

2013-12
Vandenberghe M, Raphaël M. Lehen'ki V, Gordienko D, Hastie R, Oddos T, Rao A, Hogan PG, Skyrma R, Prevarskaya N
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

MicroRNA-directed program of cytotoxic CD8+ T-cell differentiation

2013-11
Trifari S, Pipkin ME, Bandukwala HS, Äijö T, Bassien J, Chen R, Martinez GJ, Rao A
Journal of Immunology

T cell-derived IL-17 mediates epithelial changes in the airway and drives pulmonary neutrophilia

2013-09
Fogli LK, Sundrud MS, Goel S, Bajwa S, Jensen K, Derudder E, Sun A, Coffre M, Uyttenhove C, Van Snick J,…
Nature

Vitamin C induces tet-dependent DNA demethylation and a blastocyst-like state in ES cells

2013-08
Blaschke K, Ebata KT, Karimi MM, Zepeda-Martinez JA, Goyal P, Mahapatra S, Tam A, Laird DJ, Hirst M, Rao A, Lorincz MC,…
Science

Global epigenomic reconfiguration during mammalian brain development

2013-08
Lister R, Mukamel EA, Nery JR, Urich M, Puddifoot CA, Johnson ND, Lucero J, Huang Y, Dwork AJ, Schultz MD, Yu M,…
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology

Initial activation of STIM1, the regulator of store-operated calcium entry

2013-08
Zhou Y, Srinivasan P. Razavi S, Seymour S, Meraner P, Gudiur A. Stathopulos PB, Ikura M, Rao A, Hogan PG
Nature

An siRNA screen for NFAT activation identifies septins as coordinators of store-operated Ca2+ entry

2013-07
Sharma S, Quintana A, Findlay GM, Mettlen M, Baust B, Jain M, Nilsson R, Rao A, Hogan PG
Nature Reveiws Molecular Cell Biology

TETonic shift: biological roles of TET proteins in DNA demethylation and transcription

2013-06
Pastor WA, Aravind L, Rao A
Nature

Modulation of TET2 expression and 5-methylcytosine oxidation by the CXXC domain protein IDAX

2013-05
Ko M, Bandukwala HS, Chavez L, Aijö T, Pastor WA, Segal MF, Li H, Koh KP, Lähdesmäki H, Hogan PG, Aravind L, Rao A
Immunity

Agonist-selected T cell development requires strong T cell receptor signaling and store-operated calcium entry

2013-05
Oh-Hora M, Komatsu N, Pishyareh M, Feske S, Hori S, Taniguchi M, Rao A, Takayanagi H
Current Opinion in Cell Biology

DNA methylation and methylcytosine oxidation in cell fate decisions

2013-04
Koh KP, Rao A
Cell Stem Cell

Stage-specific roles for tet1 and tet2 in DNA demethylation in primordial germ cells

2013-04
Vincent JJ, Huang Y, Chen PY, Feng S, Calvopiña JH, Nee K, Lee SA, Le T, Yoon AJ, Faull K, Fan G, Rao A, Jacobsen SE,…
Nucleic Acids Research

High-resolution nucleosome mapping ot targeted regions using BAC-based enrichment

2013-04
Yigit E, Zhang Q, Xi L, Grilley D, Widom J, Wang JP, Rao A, Pipkin ME
Nature Immunology

Nurr'ishing treg cells: Nr4a transcription factors control Foxp3 expression

2013-03
Bandukwala HS, Rao A
Molecular Cell

O-GlcNAcylation and 5-methylcytosine oxidation: an unexpected association between OGT and TETs

2013-02
Balasubramani A, Rao A
Journal of Experimental Medicine

T cell activation indiuces proteasomal degradation of argonaute and rapid remodeling of the micro RNA repertoire

2013-02
Bronevetsky Y, Villarino AV, Eisley CJ, Barbeau R, Barczak AJ, Heinz GA, Kremmer E, Heissmeyer V, McManus MT, Erle DJ,…
Cell Research

PGC7, H3K9me2 and Tet3: regulators of DNA methylation in zygotes

2013-01
Kang J, Kalantry S, Rao A
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology

New functions for DNA modifications by TET-JBP

2012-11
Huang Y, Rao A
Science

Immunoloty. Cooperative transcription factor complexes in control

2012-11
Martinez GJ, Rao A
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein L-like (hnRNPLL) and elongation factor, RNA polymerase II, 2 (ELL2) are regulators of mRNA processing in plasma cells

2012-10
Benson MJ, Aijö T, Chang X, Gagnon J, Pape UJ, Anantharaman V, Aravind L, Pursiheimo JP, Oberdoerffer S, Liu XS,…
Nature Protocols

The anti-CMS technique for genome-wide mapping of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine

2012-10
Huang Y, Pastor WA, Zepeda-Martinez JA, Rao A
Nature Protocols

The GLIB technique for genome-wide mapping of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine

2012-10
Pastor WA, Huang Y, Henderson HR, Agarwai S, Rao A
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Selective inhibition of CD4+ T-cell cytokine production and autoimmunity by BET protein and c-Myc inhibitors

2012-09
Bandukwala HS, Gagnon J, Togher S, Greenbaum JA, Lamperti ED, Parr NK, Molesworth AM, Smithers N, Lee K, Witherington…
Genes & Development

D-2-hydroxyglutarate produced by mutant IDH1 perturbs collagen maturation and basement membrane function

2012-09
Sasaki M, Knobbe CB, Itsumi M, Elia AJ, Harris IS, Chio II, Calms RA, McCracken S, Wakeham A, Haight J, Ten AY, Snow B,…
Analytical Chemistry

Nontargeted nucleotide analysis based on benzoylhistamine labeling-MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS

2012-04
Wang P, Fisher D, Rao A, Giese RW
Stem Cells

RNA-binding protein L1TD1 interacts with LIN28 via RNA and is required for human embryonic stem cell self-renewal and cancer cell proliferation

2012-03
Närvä E, Rahkonen N, Emani MR, Lund R, Pursiheimo JP, Nästi J, Autio R, Rasool O, Denessiouk K, Lähdesmäki H, Rao…
Nature Chemical Biology

Halofuginone and othe rfebrifugine derivatives inhibit prolyl-tRNA synthetase

2012-02
Keller TL, Zocco D, Sundrud MS, Hendrick M, Edenius M, Yum J, Kim YJ, Lee HK, Cortese JF, Wirth DF, Dignam JD, Rao A,…
Immunity

Interleukin-4 production by follicular helper T cells requires the conserved Il4 enhancer hypersensitivity site V

2012-02
Vijayanand P, Seumois G, Simpson LJ, Abdul-Wajid S, Baumjohann D, Panduro M, Huang X, Interlandi J, Djuretic IM, Brown…
Stem Cells

RNA binding protein L1TD1 interacts with LIN28 via RNA and is required for human embryonic stem cell self-renewal and cancer cell proliferation

2011-12
Narva E, Rahkonen N, Emani MR, Lund R, Pursiheimo JP, Nasti J, Autio R, Rasool O, Denessiouk K, Lahdesmaki H, Rao A,…
Blood

Mutational spectrum analysis of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia includes genes associated with epigenetic regulation: UTX, EZH2 and DNMT3A

2011-10
Jankowska AM, Makishima H, Tiu RV, Szpurka H, Huang Y, Traina F, Visconte V, Sugimoto Y, Prince C, O'Keefe C, His ED,…
Blood

TET2: an epigenetic safeguard for HSC

2011-10
Ko M, Rao A
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Ten-eleven-translocation 2 (TET2) negatively regulates homeostasis and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells in mice

2011-08
Ko M, Bandukwala HS, An J, Lamperti ED, Thompson EC, Hastie R, Tsangaratou A, Rajewsky K, Koralov SB, Rao A
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Dephosphorylation of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) transcription factor is regulated by an RNA-protein scaffold complex

2011-07
Sharma S, Findlay GM, Bandukawala HS, Oberdoerffer S, Baust B, Li Z, Schmidt V, Hogan PG, Sacks DB, Rao A
Nature

Genome-wide mapping of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in embryonic stem cells

2011-05
Pastor WA, Pape UJ, Huang Y, Henderson HR, Lister R, Ko MG, McLoughlin EM, Brudno Y, Mahapatra S, Kapranov P, Tahiliani…
Immunity

Structure of a domain-swapped FOXP3 dimer on DNA and its function in regulatory T cells

2011-04
Bandukwala H, Wu Y, Feuerer M, Chen Y, Koh KP, Ghosh S, Sundrud MS, Stroud JC, Benoist C, Mathis D, Rao A, Chen L
Trends in Cell Biology

Interaction of calcineurin with substrates and targeting proteins

2011-02
Li H, Rao A, Hogan PG
Cell Stem Cell

Tet1 and Tet2 regulate 5-hydroxymethylcytosine production and cell lineage specification in mouse embryonic stem cells

2011-02
Koh KP, Yabuuchi A, Rao S, Huang Y, Cunniff K, Nardone J, Laiho A, Tahiliani M, Sommer CA, Mostoslavsky G, Lahesmaa R,…
Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology

TET proteins and 5-methylcytosine oxidation in the immune system

2017-04
Tsagaratou A, Rao A
PLoS One

Predicting cell types and genetic variations contributing to disease by combining GWAS and epigenetic data

2017-04
Gerasimova A, Chavez L, Li B, Seumois G, Greenbaum JA, Rao A, Vijayanand P, Peters B

Principal Investigator

rao

Anjana Rao, Ph.D.

Professor, Division of Signaling and Gene Expression

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Rao received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Osmania University in India and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. After many years as a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School and the Immune Disease Institute in Boston, she joined the La Jolla Institute in 2010. She has worked on signaling and gene transcription for many years, is a member of numerous advisory panels, and has received several major awards.

Lab Members

Michael Allevato

Graduate Student

Bokan Bao

Graduate Student

Joyce Chen

Joyce Chen

Graduate Student

Biosketch:
Joyce Chen received her BS in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She then worked as a research associate at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the laboratory of Dr. David Baltimore, where she helped develop an adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based HIV prophylaxis. Currently, Joyce is a MD/PhD student at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and she is doing her thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Anjana Rao at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

Research Focus:
Joyce is working to elucidate the roles of these transcription factors in CD8 T cell exhaustion.

BenjaminDelatte

Benjamin Delatte

Postdoctoral Fellow

Biosketch:
Benjamin Delatte is an HHMI fellow from the Jane Coffin Childs foundation. He has performed his Ph.D training in Prof. François Fuks’ laboratory in Belgium at the time that TET function was discovered by the team of Dr. Anjana Rao. Applying proteome and genome-wide approaches, he found that the most potent partner of TETs is the glycosyltransferase OGT (Deplus*, Delatte* et al., Embo, 2013), and recently discovered that Tet is responsible for RNA hydroxymethylation in drosophila (Delatte et al., Science, 2016).

Research Focus:
Ben is now investigating the roles of TETs and hydroxymethylcytosine in genomic instability and cancer. He is also developing novel methodologies to map epigenetic modifications, and to identify diverse hallmarks of cancer such as DNA breaks or aberrant DNA:RNA structures

Dina Faddah

Visiting Scientist

Romain Georges

Postdoctoral Fellow

Laura Hempleman

Research Technician I

Jad Kanbar

Graduate Student

Hyo Kim

Intern

XiangLi

Xiang Li

Instructor

Biosketch:
Xiang Li received his undergraduate degree from Nanjing University in 2005. From there, he proceeded to receive his Ph.D. in Stem Cell Research and Developmental Biology at the Institute of Health Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, China in 2011. Xiang Li’s is currently an instructor in Dr. Anjana Rao’s lab at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

Research Focus:
Xiang Li’s research is focused on the role of Tet family in cardiac and neural cell fate determination in mouse embryonic stem cells.

Matthias Lienhard

Visiting Scientist

JerryLio2

Chan-Wang (Jerry) Lio

Instructor

Biosketch:
Jerry Lio received his undergraduate and master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology at National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan. Mentored by Dr. Chyi-Song Hsieh, he later obtained his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis with a focus on the thymic development of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Currently he is an instructor at Dr. Anjana Rao’s lab at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

Research Focus:
Jerry’s research focuses on understanding the roles of TET proteins and DNA cytosine hydroxymethylation in the function and transformation of B cells.

IsaacMoyado

Isaac Lopez-Moyado

Graduate Student

Biosketch:
Isaac F. López-Moyado received his B.S. in Genomic Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and completed his undergraduate degree while doing research in the laboratory of Walter Fontana at Harvard Medical School (HMS) where he worked on aging in C. elegans and lifespan distributions. After graduating from UNAM, Isaac started his Ph.D. in the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where he is mentored by Dr. Anjana Rao.

Research Focus:
Isaac’s research focuses on the role of TET proteins and oxidized methylcytosines in maintaining genome integrity, and their relationship to oncogenesis.

Homa Rahnamoun

Graduate Student

James Scott-Browne

Postdoctoral Fellow

VipulShulaka

Vipul Shukla

Postdoctoral Fellow

Biosketch:
Vipul Shukla received his undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Delhi in New Delhi, India in 2007, and then proceeded to receive his master’s degree in Toxicology from Jamia Hamdard University in New Delhi, India in 2009. He later obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska in 2016 with a focus on Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy. Currently, he is a postdoc in Dr. Anjana Rao’s lab at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

Research focus:
Vipul’s research focus is on investigating the role of TET proteins as regulators of genomic stability.

Sara Trifari

Visiting Scientist

AngelikiTsagaratou

Angeliki Tsangaratou

Instructor

Biosketch:
I received my bachelor in Biology from the National and Kapodistrian University in Athens Greece and my PhD in Immunology from the Aristotle university of Thessaloniki in Greece. I joined the Rao lab in the La Jolla Institute in November and 2010 and was promoted to Instructor in 2013.

Research Interests:
I am working on the regulation of gene expression in T cell development. My aim is to dissect how aberrations of the differentiation process can result in autoimmunity or malignant transformation and cancer emergence.

Victor Wong

Postdoc

Robyn Wygal

Graduate Student

XisojingYue

Xiaojing Yue

Instructor

Biosketch:
Xiaojing received her undergraduate degree from Jilin University in Changchun, China in 2004, and then proceeded to obtain her master’s from the Institute of Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Bejing, China in 2007. Then in 2011, she received her Ph.D. in Immunology under the mentorship of Dr. Tilman Borggrefe from the Max-Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany. Currently, she is an instructor in Dr. Anjana Rao’s lab at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

Research Focus:
Xiaojing’s research focuses on the role of TET proteins in regulatory T cells and mechanistic regulation of regulatory T cell stability.

Shen Zeyang

Graduate Student

WadeZhang

Wade Zhang

Graduate Student

Biosketch:
I am a bioengineering Ph.D. student at the University of California, San Diego. I work in Anjana Rao’s lab at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

Research focus:
Engineer the immune system to better fight disease. I’m testing ways to prevent CD8 cell exhaustion. CD8 cells can become exhausted if they encounter antigen for prolonged times like in a chronic infection or large tumor. Exhausted CD8 cells cannot effectively kill their targets and preventing CD8 exhaustion will help them survive longer to kill more of their targets.

Career goal:
Use the immune system to develop cellular therapies that fight diseases like cancer, infection, and autoimmunity.

Rao Lab

Research Projects