photo of Dr. Kebin Liu, PI

Dr. Kebin Liu, PI

photo of Dafeng Yang

Dafeng Yang

  • Lab Manager
photo of Zeinab AI Subeh

Zeinab AI Subeh

  • Post-Doc Fellow
photo of John D. Klement

John D. Klement

  • MD-PhD Student
photo of Alyssa D. Merting

Alyssa D. Merting

  • PhD Student
photo of Dakota B. Poschel

Dakota B. Poschel

  • MD-PhD Student

lab image summary

Research Program

The research program in the Liu Laboratory focuses on the dynamic interactions between tumor cells and immune cells in the tumor microenvironment. At the molecular level, we aim at elucidating the mechanisms underlying genetic and epigenetic regulation of expression of FAS, IRF8, OPN, PD-L1 and PD-1 in tumor cells and/or myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). At the cellular level, we study cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activation and the coordination between tumor cells and MDSCs in CTL functional suppression in the tumor microenvironment. Specifically, our research programs focus on: 1) IRF8 expression regulation and function in MDSCs and tumor cells; 2) Genetic and epigenetic regulation of expression of FAS, PD-L1 and OPN in tumor cells and MDSCs; 3) Functions of NF-κB in tumor cells and CTLs; and 4) Role of OPN in osteoporosis and immune suppression. Our long-term objective is to develop molecular mechanism and target-based therapy to enhance the efficacy of T cell-based immunotherapy for colorectal and pancreatic cancers.


Selected recent publications:

  1.  Chunwan Lu, Dafeng Yang, Klement, John, Yolonda L. Colson, Nicholas H Oberlies, Cedric J Pearce Aaron H. Colby, Mark W Grinstaff Hanfei Ding, Huidong Shi, and Kebin Liu. 2022. G6PD functions as a metabolic checkpoint to regulate granzyme B expression in tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. J Immunother Cancer. 10:e003541.

  2. Alyssa D. Merting, Dakota B. Poschel, Chunwan Lu, John D. Klement, Dafeng Yang, Honglin Li, Huidong Shi, Eric Chapdelaine, Mitzi Montgomery, Michael T. Redman, Natasha M. Savage, Asha Nayak-Kapoor, and Kebin Liu. 2022. Restoring FAS Expression via Lipid-Encapsulated FAS DNA Nanoparticle Delivery Is Sufficient to Suppress Colon Tumor Growth In Vivo. Cancers. 14:361.

  3. John D Klement, Dakota B Poschel, Chunwan Lu, Alyssa D Merting, Dafeng Yang, Priscilla S Redd, Kebin Liu. 2021. Osteopontin Blockade Immunotherapy Increases Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Lytic Activity and Suppresses Colon Tumor Progression. Cancers 13:1006.

  4. Chunwan Lu, Zhuoqi Liu, John D Klement, Dafeng Yang, Alyssa D Merting, Dakota Poschel, Thomas Albers, Jennifer L Waller, Huidong Shi, Kebin Liu. 2021.WDR5-H3K4me3 epigenetic axis regulates OPN expression to compensate PD-L1 function to promote pancreatic cancer immune escape. J Immunother Cancer. 9:e002624.

  5. Huabin Zhu, John D Klement, Chunwan Lu, Priscilla S Redd, Dafeng Yang, Alyssa D Smith, Dakota B Poschel, Juan Zou, Ding Liu, Peng George Wang, David Ostrov, Nicolas Coant, Yusuf A Hannun, Aaron H Colby, Mark W Grinstaff, Kebin Liu. 2021. Asah2 Represses the p53-Hmox1 Axis to Protect Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells from Ferroptosis. J Immunol. 206:1395-1404.

  6. Chunwan Lu, John D Klement, Alyssa D Smith, Dafeng Yang, Jennifer L Waller, Darren D Browning, David H Munn, Kebin Liu. 2020. p50 suppresses cytotoxic T lymphocyte effector function to regulate tumor immune escape and response to immunotherapy. J Immunother Cancer. 8:e001365.

  7. Alyssa D Smith, Chunwan Lu, Daniela Payne, Amy V Paschall, John D Klement, Priscilla S Redd, Mohammed L Ibrahim, Dafeng Yang, Qimei Han, Zhuoqi Liu, Huidong Shi, Thomas J Hartney, Asha Nayak-Kapoor, Kebin Liu. 2020. Autocrine IL6-mediated Activation of the STAT3-DNMT Axis Silences the TNFα-RIP1 Necroptosis Pathway to Sustain Survival and Accumulation of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells. Cancer Res. 80:3145-3156.

  8. Christopher Gromisch, Motaz Qadan, Mariana Albuquerque Machado, Kebin Liu, Yolonda Colson, Mark W Grinstaff. 2020. Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: Unconventional Approaches for an Unconventional Disease. Cancer Res. 80:3179-3192. (Invited review).

  9. Chunwan Lu, John D. Klement, Wei Xiao, Mohammed Ibrahim, Priscilla S. Redd, Asha Nayak-Kapoor, Gang Zhou, and Kebin Liu. 2019. Type I IFNs activates STAT3 to regulate effector expression of cytotoxic T lymphocyte effectors to suppress tumor development. J Immunother Cancer. 7:157.

  10. Chunwan Lu, Dafeng Yang, John D. Klement, II Kyu Oh, Natasha M. Savage, Jennifer L. Waller, Aaron H. Colby, Mark W. Grinstaff, Nicholas H. Oberlies, Cedric J. Pearce, Zhiliang Xie, Samuel K. Kulp, Christopher C. Coss, Mitch A. Phelps, Thomas Albers, Iryna O. Lebedyeva, and Kebin Liu. 2019. SUV39H1 represses the expression of cytotoxic T lymphocyte effectors to promote colon tumor immune evasion. Cancer Immunol. Res. 7:414-427.

  11. John D. Klement, Amy V. Paschall, Priscilla S. Redd, Mohammed L. Ibrahim, Chunwan Lu, Dafeng Yang, Esteban Celis, Scott I. Abrams, Keiko Ozato, and Kebin Liu. 2018. An Osteopontin/CD44 immune checkpoint controls CD8+ T cell activation and tumor immune evasion. J Clin Invest. 128:5549-5560.

  12. Mohammed L. Ibrahim, John D. Klement, Chunwan Lu, Priscilla S. Redd, Wei Xiao, Dafeng Yang, Darren D. Browning, Natasha M. Savage, Phillip J. Buckhaults, Herbert C. Morse III, and Kebin Liu. 2018. Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Produce IL-10 to Elicit DNMT3b-Dependent IRF8 Silencing to Promote Colitis-Associated Colon Tumorigenesis. Cell Rep. 25:3036-3046.

  13. Priscilla S. Redd, Mohammed Ibrahim, Sarah K. Sharman, Amy V. Paschall, Dafeng Yang, Asha Nayak-Kapoor, and Kebin Liu. 2017. SETD1B activate iNOS expression in myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Cancer Res. 77:2834-2843.

  14. Chunwan Lu, Asif Talukder, Natasha Savage, Nagendra Singh and Kebin Liu. 2017. Jak-STAT-mediated chronic inflammation impairs cytotoxic T lymphocyte activation to decrease anti-PD-1 immunotherapy efficacy in pancreatic cancer. OncoImmunology. 6:e1291106.

  15. Chunwan Lu, Amy V. Paschall, Huidong Shi, Natasha Savage, Jennifer L. Waller, Maria E. Sabbatini, Nicholas H. Oberlies, Cedric Pearce, Kebin Liu. 2017. The MLL1-H3K4me3 Axis-Mediated Up-Regulation of PD-L1 Contributes to Pancreatic Cancer Immune Evasion. J Natl Cancer Inst. 109:djw283.


 Complete List of Publications