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May 7, 2024

Maggie Wang received the Ida M. Green Award

Congratulations to Maggie who received the prestigious award to honor the late Ida M. Green and her husband, Cecil Green, who have made many generous contributions to UT Southwestern. The award is given annually to a female graduate student who has demonstrated both scholastic excellence in her field and outstanding citizenship in support of fellow students and advancing the mission and values of UT Southwestern and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

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May 2, 2024

Dr. Sumer performed the first pH nanoprobe-guided surgery in head and neck cancer patient at UT Southwestern

Dr. Baran Sumer, chief of head and neck cancer surgery and long-time collaborator, performed the image-guided cancer surgery using ultra-pH sensitive nanoprobes, a technology invented by the lab a decade ago. Image (bottom left) shows fluorescence at tumor margin, and right image shows nanoprobe is dark in blood but can be switched ON after acidification. This work is supported by a clinical R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute.

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April 2024

Protective ‘acid wall’ formed by cancer cells impedes cytotoxic T cells

Zach Bennett, Jinming Gao, Anthony Grichuk, Baran Sumer and Qiang Feng (left to right in the photo) discovered severe tumor acidity can deter immune cells from attacking tumor cells. The original work was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

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March 2024

Dr. Gao is induced into the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering

Congratulations to Dr. Gao who is inducted into the AIMBE for his group's pioneer work in the invention and clinical translation of proton transistor nanotechnology. This recognition adds to the growing momentum of biomedical engineering research led by Dr. Sam Achilefu, inaugural chair of the new BME department.

March 2024

Nanoparticles developed at UTSW effectively fight tumors

University Newsroom published a story on the STING activation of type I dendritic cells to boost antitumor immunity based on the recent Science Immunology study.

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March 2024

Congratulations to Maggie!

Maggie Wang received the 2024 Carol and Robert Eberhart Endowed Scholarship Award in Engineering and Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center on the basis of academic and research excellence. The award was established in honor of Dr. Bob Eberhart, a founding member of the biomedical engineering program at UT Southwestern.

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March 2024

Severe, polarized extracellular acidic region (SPEAR) on cancer cell surface

In the recent issue of Nature Biomedical Engineering, Qiang et al revealed cancer cells excrete protons into a polarized extracellular region, driving the tumor pH below 5.3. The severe acidity is toxic to T cells but not cancer cells, highlighting a tumor survival strategy for immune evasion. Lactate is the primary proton carrier from cancer cells, suggesting besides cell proliferation, tumor glycolysis (aka Warburg metabolism) may also protect cancer cells against T cell onslaught.

Nature Biomedical Engineering
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February 2024

Science Immunology paper out!

The STING-cDC1 paper was selected as a feature article in the February 16 issue of Science Immunology. Congratulations to Jian, Suxin, Maggie and all the co-authors for the resilience through COVID and converging several cross fields in nanoparticle engineering, immune cell biology and cancer immunotherapy!

January 2024

Type 1 conventional dendritic cells are critical for STING-mediated tumor rejection

Jian, Suxin and Maggie discovered a shock-and-lock STING-activating nanoparticle drives antitumor immunity through type 1 conventional dendritic cells (cDC1s) with distinctive chemokine signatures. Multiplexed immunohistochemistry analysis of STING-activating cDC1s in resected tumors predicts survival outcomes after neoadjuvant chemo-immunotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer patients.

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December 2023

Jinming Gao is elected a fellow of National Academy of Inventors

NAI fellowship represents the highest professional recognition to academic inventors. Jinming is recognized for his lab's efforts to develop innovative nanotechnology to improve cancer diagnosis and therapy. This award is a reflection of many years of hard work by many current and former lab members.

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November 2023

Welcome Dr. Quan Wang joining the lab!

Welcome Dr. Quan Wang from Shanghai Jiaotong University as a new May Kay International Postdoctoral Fellow! Quan will contribute to our immune engineering efforts for precision control of STING signaling in tumors.

January 2023

OncoNano Medicine’s Pegsitacianine Granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Real-Time Surgical Imaging by the Food and Drug Administration

The Gao Lab has contributed to OncoNano Medicine Inc.'s FDA Breakthrough Therapy designation for pH activatable nano sensor.

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November 2022

SITC 2022

Qiang Feng received a travel award to present before thousands of audience at Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) 2022 on Increasing IL2 Therapeutic Window by UPS Nanoparticle Delivery.

September 2022


The Gao lab featured on KERA News: How Exercise May Help Fight Cancer in a Way You Didn't Expect

KERA News Article
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September 2022

Congratulations Dr. Jiwon Song

Jiwon Song successfully defended her doctoral thesis "Investigation of Divergent Metabolic Programs in the Tumor-Immune-Microenvironment".

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June 2022

Congratulations Dr. Jonathan Wilhelm

Jonathan Wilhelm successfully defended his doctoral thesis "Cooperatively-Physiologic Cornerstone and Emerging Therapeutic Design Principle".

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May 2022

Green Fellow from UT Dallas

The Gao Lab hosted Parnavi, an undergraduate Green Fellow from The University of Texas at Dallas. She was mentored by Maggie Wang in our lab. Parnavi presented her poster on the use of ultra-pH-sensitive nanoparticles for cancer immunotherapy at the Green Fellows Research Symposium.

More Information: UT Dallas/UT Southwestern Green Fellows Program

April 2022


The Gao lab featured on STAT News: Lighting Up Cancer Cells with pH-activated Nanoparticles

STAT News Article

February 2022


The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) awarded 74 new grants for over $112 million to expand innovations in cancer research and prevention in Texas on February 16, 2022. CPRIT awarded a grant to Dr. Jinming Gao's lab for Antitumor Immunity in Metastatic Cancers.

Read More About the CPRIT Grant

December 2021

Polyvalent Design in the cGAS-STING Pathway

A review article by Zachary Bennett, highlighting the natural phenomena of polyvalency in the cGAS-STING pathway and engineering strategies to exploit polyvalency for cancer immunotherapy, was published on December 15, 2021, in Seminars in Immunology.

Gao Lab group sharing Thanksgiving dinner

November 2021

Thanksgiving Dinner and Jian's Farewell

Dr. Sumer and Gang standing in front of "Happy Birthday" banner

November 2021

Happy Birthday Dr. Sumer and Gang!

Team members holding a baby and a cake

October 2021

Farewell Victoria and Suxin

Kelly and Wei wearing masks, holding balloons, and standing in front of "Happy Birthday" banner

October 2021

Happy Birthday Kelly and Wei!

Onubolu Oreoluwa

September 2021

Welcome our New Member Oreoluwa

Oreoluwa Onabolu, M.S.
Oreoluwa Onabolu is the new Research Assistant II. He graduated with an M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has many responsibilities in the lab. Oreoluwa is responsible for consenting patients for tissue collection. He works with multiple surgeons to collect tissue samples during surgery. After he collects tissue samples, he processes and stores the samples in the biobank for future research. We are excited to have Oreoluwa on our team!

Maggie wearing face mask, standing with "Happy Birthday" banner

September 2021

Happy Birthday to Maggie!

Our New Member Mariana

August 2021

Welcome our New Member, Mariana

Mariana Barrera, B.S.
Mariana Barrera is the new Senior Administrative Assistant. She graduated with a B.S. in Business Management from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California. She will be the first point of contact for Dr. Jinming Gao. A few of her duties include updating the lab website, coordinating Nano-Immuno-Oncology U54 Seminars, and organizing lab events.

First In-Person Lab Meeting Following the Pandemic

July 2021

Return to Normalcy: First In-Person Lab Meeting Following the Pandemic

As the UT Southwestern Campus returns to normal operations in July 2021, we held our first in-person lab meeting since the pandemic struck. Thanks to Jiahui Chen for an inspiring research update in this first seminar.

Fun Fact: Jiahui also delivered the first research update virtually in 2020 as we encountered the shutdown and confined operations.

Lab group posing outside the Dallas Museum of Art

June 2021

Fun outside of the lab: Dallas Museum of Art

To celebrate the continued decline in COVID cases, the reopening of normal campus operations, and the many positive events which have occurred within the lab over the past year, we took time to enjoy fellowship and culture at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Nature Biomedical Engineering magazine cover

May 2021

Research Article Featured on Nature BME Cover, May 2021 Issue

An article by Suxin Li on the mechanism of PC7A polymer-induced STING activation compared with natural ligand cGAMP was originally published on February 8, 2021, in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

This article was featured by the UT Southwestern Newsroom and on the cover of the May 2021 issue of Nature Biomedical Engineering:

Read the article in Newsroom

February 2021

Mechanistic Insight to Polymer-Induced STING Activation

An article by Suxin Li on the mechanism of PC7A polymer-induced STING activation compared with natural ligand cGAMP was published on February 8, 2021, in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

This article was featured by the UT Southwestern Newsroom.

Read the news article

January 2021

Zachary Bennett Receives NIH Predoctoral Fellowship

Congratulations to Zachary Bennett who received the highly competitive and prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

December 2020

Antigen Folding Responsible for Loading in PC7A Nanoparticles

An article by Jonathan Wilhelm on antigen folding associated with loading in PC7A nanoparticles was published on December 7, 2020, in the Journal of Controlled Release.

Read Jonathan's article

November 2020

Polycarbonate-Based Biodegradable UPS Nanoparticles

An article by Xu Wang highlighting the development of a biodegradable series of UPS nanoparticles that enable longer therapeutic windows with an improved safety profile was published on November 17, 2020, in Nature Communications.

Read Xu's article
ARC 2020 magazine cover

October 2020

Review on Nanoimmunology to Exploit Nanotechnology's Synergy with Immunology

A review by Suxin Li on the use of nanotechnology to intervene in the cancer-immunity cycle was published on October 16, 2020, in Accounts of Chemical Research.

This review was featured on the cover of the 2020 Chemistry in Cancer Immunotheranostics special issue.

Read Suxin's article

September 2020

Review on Cooperativity as a Design Principle in Drug Delivery

A review by Jonathan Wilhelm on the design and use of cooperative nanomaterials for drug delivery was published on September 1, 2020, in Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews.

Read the article by Jonathan Wilhelm

June 2020

Phase I Clinical Trial Results of UPS in Cancer

Phase I clinical trial data from the use of Ultra-pH-sensitive nanoparticles to detect cancer was published on June 26, 2020, in Nature Communications.

Read about the clinical trials

May 2020

Tumor Targeted MCT-1 Inhibition by UPS Nanoparticles

An article by Tongyi Huang highlighting tumor-targeted inhibition of monocarboxylate transporter-1 using UPS nanoparticles was published on May 19, 2020, in Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Read Tongyi's article

April 2020

Jonathan Wilhelm Receives Engineering Scholarship

Congratulations to Jonathan Wilhelm who received the Carol and Robert Eberhart Endowed Scholarship in Engineering in the Clinical Sciences from the UT Southwestern Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program.

February 2020

Detection of Lymph Node Metastases by UPS Nanoparticles

Article by Zachary Bennett highlighting the use of ultra-pH-sensitive nanoparticles for the detection of lymph node metastasis was published on February 10, 2020, in Theranostics.

Read Zachary's article