Laijun Lai, MD
Dr. Laijun Lai is a Research Professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. His extensive grant-funded research covers three major areas. First, using bioinformatics to identify new immune checkpoint molecules and then employing gene engineering to produce the recombinant proteins and antibodies to treat cancer and autoimmune disease. Second, employing embryonic stem cell (ESC)- and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)-derived cells to model and treat immunodeficiency and autoimmune disease. And third, using a gene engineering approach to produce recombinant proteins to treat T cell immunodeficiency in older adults. These studies have resulted in the award of three patents and numerous grants with funding exceeding $8 million from the NIH, American Cancer Society, Connecticut Regenerative Medicine Research Fund, and others. Dr. Lai’s research has the potential to lead to new drugs or new approaches to prevent and treat autoimmune diseases, cancer, and immunodeficiency. His laboratory uses a variety of techniques including bioinformatics, immunology, molecular cloning, cell culture, protein purification and characterization, antibody production, embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and disease animal models.