Gregory Lee Szeto, Ph.D. is currently an NIH NCI Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow (formerly a Ragon Institute Postdoctoral Fellow) in the laboratory of Darrell J. Irvine, co-advised by Douglas A. Lauffenburger, at MIT.
His long-term research interests are driven by one critical question: "How does the immune system make decisions based on complex signal integration?" To begin answering this question, Dr. Szeto will form an independent research group focused on utilizing engineering approaches (including modular biomaterials for drug delivery and systems biology) to elucidate mechanisms driving chronic inflammation and tumorigenesis in gut microenvironments, identifying quantitative changes in network signal processing in tumor-suppressed immune networks, and developing immunometabolic intervention strategies for use in diverse microenvironments.
Leveraging his knowledge of immunology and HIV, Dr. Szeto is currently focused on 1) application of systems biology to traditional and novel immune assay platforms to improve our understanding of immune cell network behaviors via modeling, 2) elucidating and modulating mechanisms of immunosuppression in murine models of cancer and vaccination using local biomaterials, 3) combining engineered molecular adjuvants and microfluidics devices to develop rapid B cell-based vaccines, 4) the use of biomicro/nanotechnology for basic immunology and immunotherapy, particularly novel assay platforms for assessing cell-cell interactions, single-cell fate and function, and interconnecting novel dynamic behaviors with traditional endpoint analyses .
Born in Waldorf, Maryland, Dr. Szeto earned bachelor's degrees in Chemical and Biomedical and Health Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004. In 2010, he completed his PhD under the mentorship of Janice E. Clements at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Dr. Szeto's graduate work characterized the immunmodulatory and anti-HIV actions of the antibiotic minocycline in human CD4+ T cells. This line of inquiry culminated in the elucidation of a novel molecular mechanism for minocycline's effects on T cell activation: suppression of the transcription factor NFAT1. These studies formed the basis for a novel use of minocycline as both an anti-HIV agent, and an immunmodulatory therapy targeting T cell activation.
Previously, Dr. Szeto performed research under Xiao Xiao at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center developing AAV-based viral vectors for gene therapy, Steven X. Hou at NCI-Frederick working on a P-element insertion screen to uncover novel essential genes in Drosophila, and D. Keith Wilson at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland working on a Matlab-based user interface for predicting the effects of atmosphere and local terrain using advanced sound propagation models.