Yu Leo Lei, DDS, PhD, University of Michigan

Yu Leo Lei, DDS, PhD
Yu Leo Lei, DDS, PhD

Research in Dr. Lei's laboratory is dedicated to helping patients with high-risk oral leukoplakia and oral cancer. The team is a member of the Cancer Moonshot℠ Immuno-Oncology Translational Network (IOTN) and pioneers in identifying novel Pattern Recognition Receptor (PRR) regulators. PPRs constitute the first line of defense against “non-self” antigens, which are encountered during microbial infections and cancer development. With the characterization of new PRR families, such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs), NOD-like receptors (NLRs), RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs), and cGAS-STING-mediated cytoplasmic DNA-sensing molecules, novel regulatory mechanisms of PRR signaling are rapidly emerging as main cancer immune escape mechanisms. Dr. Lei's laboratory has developed a unique collection of toolkits in the following areas: Mechanisms of Regulating Cancer Immune Escape, Immunogenomics Approaches to Identify Cold Cancer, and Immune Engineering Strategies to Sensitize Cold Cancer to Immune Checkpoint Blockade.




  1. Sun X, Zhang Y, Li J, Park KS, Han K, Zhou X, Xu Y, Nam J, Xu J, Shi X, Wei L, Lei YL, Moon JJ. Amplifying STING activation by cyclic dinucleotide-manganese particles for local and systemic cancer metalloimmunotherapy. Nature Nanotechnology. 2021 Nov;16(11):1260-1270. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8595610.
  2. Gong W, Donnelly CR, Heath BR, Bellile E, Donnelly LA, Taner HF, Broses L, Brenner JC, Chinn SB, Ji RR, Wen H, Nör JE, Wang J, Wolf GT, Xie Y, Lei YL. Cancer-specific type-I interferon receptor signaling promotes cancer stemness and effector CD8+ T-cell exhaustion. Oncoimmunology. 2021;10(1):1997385. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8632299.