Yu Leo Lei

Yu Leo Lei, DDS, PhD

Research Interests
His group pioneers at the identification of oncogenic suppressors of the innate immune system.

Dr. Lei is on the steering committee of the NCI Cancer Moonshot Immuno-Oncology Translational Network. He is a recipient of the NIH Rising Stars award. His group pioneers at the identification of oncogenic suppressors of the innate immune system. Pattern Recognition Receptors (PPRs) constitute the first line of defense against “non-self” antigens such as tumor neoepitopes. 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 a main cancer immune escape mechanism. Dr. Lei's basic and translational Immunoprevention program focuses on the regulation of PRR-mediated type-I interferon response, with an eye towards the immune engineering approaches to restore innate immune sensing of cancers. His laboratory utilizes a broad spectrum of technologies including biochemistry, molecular biology, flow cytometry, CyTOF, next-generation sequencing, single-cell sequencing, transgenic modeling, CRISPR-Cas9 lentiviruses, nanotechnology to vet the mechanisms that drive immune landscape shifts as pre-malignant lesions transform and to develop rationally designed immunoprevention strategies. His work is highly cited and published in well-respected journals, such as the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Immunity, Clinical Cancer Research, among others.