Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2017
Home Department: Chemical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Tom Soh (Radiology, Electrical Engineering) and Carolyn Bertozzi (Chemistry)

Research Title: Development of highly specific xeno-nucleic acid (XNA) aptamers to modulate the innate immune system

Photo of graduate student Alex Yoshikawa in the lab, using a flow cytometer machine.Research Description: Cancer cells exploit immune checkpoints to evade destruction by the immune system. Manipulation of these immune checkpoints has proven to be a powerful new tool in the fight against cancer. Cell surface sugars and their cognate receptors are emerging as a promising class of immune checkpoints to target for cancer immunotherapy. In this work, Alexander proposes the development of oligonucleotide based affinity reagents containing unnatural chemical modifications that can inhibit these immune checkpoints to increase antitumor immunity.


Alexander is co-founder and CSO of a stealth biotech startup located in Menlo Park.