About the Lab
Under the supervision of Hyun-Sung Lee, M.D., Ph.D. and Bryan M. Burt, M.D., the Systems Onco-Immunology Laboratory (SOIL) uses and develops innovative methods within the context of multi-omics technologies to investigate cancer-immune system networks and inform the design of novel approaches to immunotherapy.
The lab was founded in 2015 by a visionary in thoracic surgery and thoracic oncology, Dr. David J. Sugarbaker and the name “SOIL” is also a tribute to the “Seed and Soil theory of metastasis” that was the basis for our early collaborative work with Dr. Sugarbaker.
Our lab is a hub for translational oncology research projects in thoracic oncology and unites an interdisciplinary team of surgeons, medical oncologists, immunologists, and bioinformaticians who are conducting research in the field of onco-immunology. Our work extends to encompass a broader interaction with the scientific community and educational opportunities in systems onco-immunology.
Systems Onco-Immunology Approaches
Many systems approaches have been applied to analyzing the local and systemic immunity to reveal the intricate cellular networks at the single-cell level. Technologies used in systems immunology operate either on bulk tissue samples or single-cell suspensions. Next-generation sequencing (NGS), mass spectrometry (MS) and multiplexed imaging mass cytometry platforms do not require tissue dissociation (although histology provides single-cell resolution). Droplet-based microfluidics and time-of flight mass cytometry (CyTOF), in contrast, require cell suspensions, but generate high-dimensional data for individual cells. Results from these analyses have been used to monitor responses to checkpoint immunotherapy, mapping changes in the immune system across an organism, and for the design of personalized precision immunotherapy.
Areas of Research
To date, preclinical and clinical studies exploiting systems approaches have generated profound amounts of data enabling characterization of immune responses and the generation of data rich atlases and accompanying tools for analysis. These important advances have laid the groundwork for discovery in the field of tumor immunology. Systems immunology in the field of immuno-oncology is comprehensively integrating high dimensional single cell time-of-flight mass cytometry (CyTOF), imaging mass cytometry (IMC), mass spectrometry, and next generation sequencing data. Our overarching goals are to identify potential therapeutic targets and to develop strong prognostic or predictive determinants for the management of solid tumors by applying “comprehensive and integrated systems immunology” approach.
In the News
Dr. Lee Receives DoD Cancer Research Program Impact Award
2021 Faculty Seed Grants Awarded
Dr. Hyun-Sung Lee Awarded Pilot Funding for Mesothelioma Research
Dr. Hyun-Sung Lee Awarded Funding for Checkpoint Immuno-therapy Study
Dr. Lee to serve on Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Science Advisory Board
Dr. Bryan Burt Receives NIH Grant for Mesothelioma
Baylor researchers receive nearly $2.7 million in CPRIT grants
Clinical trial uses immunotherapy to treat mesothelioma
Study to determine cyclosporine’s role in treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients