Yuwen Zhu, PhD

Dr. Yuwen Zhu is currently an associate professor of Surgical Oncology Division at Department of Surgery. Dr. Zhu obtained his PhD in immunology at Mayo Clinic in 2006 and had been trained for over 12 years in cancer immunotherapy at Dr. Lieping Chen's laboratory across Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and Yale University. In 2013, Dr. Zhu joined as a faculty member at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU AMC).

Research Interests

Dr. Zhu's research lies in the discovery of novel immunosuppressive pathways and their applications in cancer therapy. Dr. Zhu's early research work has contributed to the identification of several immunomodulatory interactions, including CD28/B7-H2, CD28H/B7-H5, and HVEM/SALM5. The research at Dr. Zhu's lab at CU AMC continues to characterize novel immune checkpoints for T cells. Dr. Zhu's research team has identified CD112R (also called as PVRIG) and GPR171 as two potential immune checkpoints important for cancer immunotherapy. Another main research direction in the lab is to determine pathways that limit effector T cell infiltration in the tumor microenvironment. The CD93/IGFBP7 axis is a key pathway the Zhu lab identified that contributes to tumor vascular dysfunction and thereby T cell exclusion. The most recent work in the lab has led to the finding of GPR182, a lymphatic chemokine scavenger, which acts as a brake to limit effector T cell infiltration in melanoma. By developing therapeutic agents against these novel targets, Dr. Zhu's lab is interested in various clinical applications of cancer immunotherapy.

Yuwen Zhu, PhD

Selected Publications

Zhu Y*, Paniccia A, Schulick AC, Chen W, Koenig MR, Byers JT, Sheng Yao, Bevers S, Edil BH* (2016). Identification of CD112R as a novel checkpoint for human T cells. J. Exp. Med. 213(2):167-176. PMID: 26755705. (*co-corresponding authors).

Zhu Y, Yao S, Augustine M, Xu H, Wang J, Sun J, Broadwater M, Ruff W, Luo L, Zhu G, Tamada K, Chen L (2016), Neuron-specific SALM5 limits inflammation in the CNS via its interaction with HVEM. Sci. Adv. 2, e1500637. PMID: 27152329.

Fujiwara Y, Sun Y, Torphy RJ, He J, Yanaga K, Edil BH, Schulick RD, Zhu Y (2018). Pomalidomide inhibits PD-L1 induction to promote anti-tumor immunity. Cancer Res. 78(23):6655-6665. PMID: 30315115.

Sun Y, Chen W, Torphy RJ, Yao S, Zhu G, Lin R, Lugano R, Miller EN, Fujiwara Y, Bian L, Zheng L, Anand S, Gao F, Zhang W, Ferrara SE, Goodspeed AE, Dimberg A, Wang XJ, Edil BH, Barnett CC, Schulick RD, Chen L*, Zhu Y* (2021). Blockade of the CD93 pathway normalizes tumor vasculature to facilitate drug delivery and immunotherapy. Sci Transl Med. 13(604). abc8922. PMID: 34321321. (*co-corresponding authors).

Fujiwara Y, Torphy RJ, Sun Y, Miller EN, Ho F, Borcherding N, Wu, T, Torres RM, Zhang W, Schulick RD, Zhu Y (2021), The GPR171 pathway suppresses T cell activation and limits antitumor immunity. Nat Commun, 12, 5857. PMID: 34615877.

Torphy RJ, Sun Y, Lin R, Caffrey-Carr A, Fujiwara Y, Ho F, Miller EN, McCarter MD, Lyons TR, Schulick RD, Kedl RM, Zhu Y (2021), GPR182 limits antitumor immunity via chemokine scavenging in mouse melanoma models. Nat Commun, in press.

Lab Address

12700 E. 19th Ave.
Research Complex 1- North
Aurora, CO 80045

Lab Phone: 303-724-7999

Join the Team

Dr. Zhu's lab is looking for motivated Ph.D. Students, postdocs, and surgical residents who are interested in Cancer Immunotherapy.

For inquiries, please contact:

Yuwen Zhu, PhD
Office location: P18-8116
Email: yuwen.zhu@cuanschutz.edu
Phone: 303-724-7950


CU Anschutz

Academic Office One

12631 East 17th Avenue

Room: 6111

Aurora, CO 80045


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