Heath Lab Overview

“Some of the most interesting and urgent problems in P4 medicine reside at the boundaries of physics, chemistry, engineering and biology.”

–James R. Heath, PhD, President
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Research Overview

The Heath group works on challenging problems in translating P4 medicine from benchtop to bedside, with a focus on oncology. We are particularly interested in developing and applying new molecular, imaging, computational, and microchip-based single cell methods for quantitatively interrogating tumor/immune interactions.  The Heath group is comprised of a diverse, talented, and highly motivated group of researchers drawn from across the physical, biological and engineering sciences.  In addition to our lab in Seattle, we have a small laboratory within the UCLA school of medicine that is devoted to translating our technologies and methods into the clinic.

One thing that draws our research projects together is that we focus on the fundamental scientific bottlenecks that, if solved, can provide keys toward solving much larger problems.

Research Focus

Predicting Cancer Therapy:  We are developing single cell proteomics and single cell metabolomics methods that, when combined with kinetic studies and statistical physics models, can yield effective cancer treatment strategies for individual patients, and can unveil mechanisms of drug response and resistance.

Cancer Immunotherapy: We utilize single cell methods, coupled with large scale molecular dynamics calculations to develop a molecular-level understanding of patient responses to engineered T cell and drug-based cancer immunotherapies, and to engineer new therapies for the most challenging patients.

Protein Catalyzed Capture Agents (PCCs):  We have developed the PCC approach as an all synthetic approach towards identifying selective, high affinity binders to specific epitopes of specific proteins.  Current PCC programs involve the development of a high throughput PCC production approach, and the use of the PCC technology to develop drug candidates against challenging targets, such as mutated KRas, mutated SOD1, or the malaria target pf.HRP-2.

New Molecular Imaging Technologies:   A challenge associated with single cell omics methods is to capture quantitative, multiplex information from single cells, while retaining the tissue context of those cells.  New programs in the Heath group are focused on addressing this challenge.