Our research focus

Tumour infiltrating regulatory T cells

Our body’s immune system can recognise and effectively eliminate tumours. To escape immune attack, tumours hijack a specialised immune cell population known as regulatory T cells (Tregs), which potently suppresses anti-tumour immune cells to promote tumour growth. Targeting Tregs, therefore, is an attractive strategy to revert immune suppression in tumours and boost the function of anti-tumour immune cells. Our laboratory aims to discover transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms employed by Tregs to infiltrate tumours in vital organs such as the gut, lung, liver and brain. These mechanisms will be harnessed to target Tregs for the treatment of solid tumours.

Stromal-immune cell crosstalk

Tumour microenvironment is composed of actively proliferating tumour cells, stromal cells, blood vessels and a plethora of immune cells. Stromal cells are known to produce a variety of growth factors and immunomodulatory molecules that directly shapes the immune landscape of tumours. We use cutting-edge molecular tools and microscopy to understand the molecular makeup of stromal cells in diverse tissues and tumours as well as their crosstalk with immune cells, in particular Tregs.

Metabolic regulation of tumour immunity

Cellular metabolism is critical for the differentiation, growth and function of tumour cells and immune cells. Metabolic intermediates serve as catalysts for several cellular processes including gene transcription. Systemic metabolic changes also influence anti-tumour immune responses and immunotherapy outcomes. Our laboratory aims to understand how cellular metabolism and tumour derived ‘oncometabolites’ shape the transcriptional landscape of tumour infiltrating immune cells. We also investigate how changes in systemic metabolism affects anti-tumour immunity and immunotherapy outcomes.

Fast facts

Cancer cells have hijacked for their own benefit the inflammatory processes that help support wound healing of normal tissues.

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A gene or protein which is identified to cause, or play a major role, in the disease.

A drug which attacks a specific protein of the cancer. Such drugs therefore only work on cancer where such a protein confers a specific benefit for a particular cancer to grow and spread.

Recent publications

Mucosal Immunology

Role reversals: non-canonical roles for immune and non-immune cells in the gut

DOI: 10.1016/j.mucimm.2023.11.004

1 December 2023

View abstract
Trends in Cancer

Gut microbiota - a double-edged sword in cancer immunotherapy

DOI: 10.1016/j.trecan.2022.08.003

8 September 2023

View abstract
Clinical & Translational Immunology

Sex-bias in CD8+ T-cell stemness and exhaustion in cancer

DOI: 10.1002/cti2.1414

26 August 2022

View abstract

Our team

Meet our researchers

  • Jayendra Singh - PhD Student
  • Adelynn Tang - PhD Student
  • Jian Wu - PhD Student