Leyuan Ma | AIChE

Leyuan Ma

Postdoctoral Fellow
The Irvine lab at the Koch Institute at MIT

I graduated from UMass Medical school in 2016 with a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. My graduate work focused on elucidating the molecular basis of cancer drug resistance in both leukemia and solid tumor models using a variety of molecular and genetic approaches, including genome-wide genetic screens, single-cell RNA-seq, and saturated mutagenesis. Soon after graduation, I pursued postdoctoral research under the supervision of Dr. Darrell Irvine at MIT on cancer immunotherapy using immune engineering approaches. The human immune system has huge potential in tackling harmful pathogens and keeping diverse diseases under control. I have been particularly interested in biomaterial-based methods to perturb and re-direct the immune system against cancer. By exploiting a molecularly targeted vaccine design, the amphiphile vaccine, I have recently created a booster vaccine for chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T). This booster vaccine repeatedly expands and rejuvenates CAR-T cells in vivo in an MHC-independent manner, and significantly enhanced the therapeutic efficacy of CAR-T cells against solid tumors. We are currently refining this MHC-independent vaccine and exploring additional applications in the cancer cell therapy space.