The Chang Lab

The Chang Lab delves into the intricate realm of immune cell metabolism and its profound impact on diseases like cancer and lupus, forging effective treatments through in-depth molecular understanding.

The Chang Lab leverages the intersecting fields of immunology and metabolism to uncover the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control immune cell behaviors, which shape disease development, with primary focus on lupus and cancer, along with other autoimmune and aging diseases. Using diverse mouse models of cancer and autoimmunity, we employ cutting edge technologies and analytical techniques such as spatial metabolite, protein, and transcriptomic analyses, single-cell RNA sequencing, seahorse metabolic flux analyses, and diverse immunometabolic therapies. These analyses allow for us to explore the relationships between immune cell fate, populations, metabolism, cellular function, and disease progression to develop more effective therapeutics for human diseases. Specifically, we investigate the metabolic regulation of B and T cells, including the effects of inhibiting glycolysis on disease progression, and explore T-cell reprogramming within the tumor microenvironment, asking:

  • How does the biology of cancer cells shape the tumor microenvironment to suppress the function of tumor-infiltrating immune cells?

  • How can we enhance the efficacy of current immunotherapeutic strategies in the rejuvenation of anti-tumor function of T cells in cancer?

  • How does blocking glycolysis impact the functional properties of B and T cells that contribute to the pathogenesis of lupus?

  • Can targeting glycolysis in B and T cells effectively attenuate disease activity and improve disease outcomes?

  • How can we leverage the metabolic interplay between immune cells and diseased tissues to develop novel therapeutic strategies for lupus and cancer treatment?

By operating at the intersection of immunology, metabolism, microbiology, oncology, pharmacology, and bioinformatics, our research seeks to uncover a holistic and mechanistic understanding of the metabolic interplay between immune cells and afflicted tissues. Ultimately, we strive to provide novel strategies for vaccines, drug development, disease prognosis, and immunotherapy by illuminating the intricate metabolic mechanisms that drive cellular fate.

Chang Lab Alumni

High school/Undergraduate/Graduate student

2023 Chloe Ledford
Current position: undergraduate in Biology, Belmont University

2022 Olajuyin Ebenezer
Current position: PhD student in GSBSE, University of Maine

2022 Anthony Mendoza
Current position: undergraduate in Letters and Science, University of California Berkeley

2022 Maggi Smart
Current position: Natural Sciences graduate, University of Massachusetts Amherst

2021-2022 Natalie Logan
Current position: Undergraduate in Bioengineering, Stanford University

2021 Thi-Tina Nguyen
Current position: PhD candidate in Integrated Physiology, University of Colorado Anschutz

2018-2020 Jack Sears
Current position: PhD candidate in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, UNC at Chapel Hill

2019-2020 Kevin Waldron
Current position: Communications-writing graduate, Clark Summit University

2019 Amey Maley
Current position: AmeriCorps Health Advocate, Legacy Community Health

2019 Vivin Karthik
Current position: Principal Research Associate, TScan Therapeutics

2018 – 2019 Max Reznik
Current position: undergraduate in Biology, United States Air Force Academy


2019-2023 Dr. Qing Li (Faculty Liaison: Dr. Lucas Chang, Mentor: Dr. Gary Ren)
Current position: Associate Professor, Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center, China

2018-2022 Dr. Jian Wei
Current position: Assistant Professor, Shandong University, China

2017-2020 Dr. Peishan Li (Faculty Liaison: Dr. Lucas Chang, Mentor: Dr. Gary Ren)
Current position: Associate Professor, Shandong University, China