Headshot portrait of Haotian Du - Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship (Anonymous Donor)
Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2021
Home Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Possu Huang (Bioengineering), Edgar Engleman (Pathology and Medicine—Immunology & Rheumatology), and Danny Chou (Pediatrics—Endocrinology & Diabetes)

Research Title: Molecular Engineering of T Cell Receptor Functional Mimetics for Intracellular Oncogenic Marker Targeting

Research Description: Development of precise cancer therapy requires detection of tumor-specific biomarkers. Peptides derived from various oncogene-associated proteins can be presented on cell surfaces as peptide-Major Histocompatibility Complexes (pepMHCs), which are potentially the largest cancer biomarker repertoire. However, there is a large gap between discovery studies of these peptide biomarkers and their clinical translation due to a lack of targeting system. Haotian will develop a platform to recognize and track tumor pepMHCs with computationally designed small stable proteins, mimicking the function of T cell receptors (TCR). The novel targeting system opens up opportunities for tracking intracellular oncogenic biomarkers for immunotherapy treatment.