LaBelle Lab

Cells by Grace LaBelle, 5

Research Overview

The major goal of the laboratory is to dissect and pharmacologically target intracellular proteins to induce cancer cell death and manipulate the immune response.  We are currently applying new research tools and prototype therapeutics that we, and others, have developed to target the BCL-2 family of proteins and other cell signaling proteins in immune cells.


A large part of our lab focuses on using portions of the actual proteins, or peptides, as drugs and biological tools to uncover specific molecular pathways in diseased and normal cells. Peptide-based therapeutics have enormous potential for immune modulation and direct cancer treatment but have traditionally lacked efficient stabilization and delivery within patients, and thereby, have had limited clinical applications. To are working to overcome these barriers within the lab and through collaboration with nanotechnologists and chemical engineers.


Overall, we are committed to translation of our findings to pediatric and adult patients with cancer and immune system disease. While performing research at the University of Chicago, we are in close proximity to scientists, clinicians, and patients and are deeply committed to working collaboratively with these groups to make significant inroads in treating those suffering from refractory disease.

Feature News

We are always looking for a creative, motivated, and energetic postdocs to join our group and work in areas of translational immune modulation through targeting the BCL-2 family of proteins and nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery.  If interested please contact the lab! ( 


Thank you to John and Jill Svoboda for continuing to support the Svoboda Fellow to advance research to manipulate the immune response in patients with cancer.


Lab News

Thank you to the American Cancer Society for our Research Scholar Award!

We are excited to announce funding for two projects through the AbbVie-UofC Collaborative. One to study immune modulation through drugging the BCL-2 apoptotic network and the other to target small molecule and peptide-based therapeutics through nano engineering!

Welcome Senlin Xu, PhD to the lab!

Thank you the American Cancer Society TheoryLab Collaborative for funding our joint work with Philip Connell, MD (bio) on targeting ETS1/p52 signaling in cancers!

Selected Recent Publications

Hawley, K.M., Eclov, R.J., Schnorenberg, M.R., Tian, Y., Shaw, R.N., Thomas-Toth, A.T., Fefferman, M., Bird, G.H., Walensky, L.D., Tirrell, M.V.,  LaBelle, J.L. (2022) Inhibition of FOXP3 Dimerization by stapled alpha-helical peptides dampens regulatory T cell function. PNAS. October  13Hawley et al. 2022

Ludwig, L.M.,  Hawley, K.L., Banks, D.B., Thomas-Toth, A.T., McNearny, M.E., Blazar, B., Leverson, J.D., LaBelle, J.L. (2021) Venetoclax Imparts Distinct Cell Death Sensitivity and Adaptivity Patterns in T cells. Cell Death & Disease. 12:1005. Ludwig, et al. 2021

Volpatti, L.R., Wallace, R.P., Can, S., Raczy, M.M., Wang, R., Gray, L.T., Alpar, A.T., Briquez, P.S., Mitrousis, N., Marchell, T.M., Sasso, M.S., Mansurov, A., Budina, E., Solanki, A., Watkins, E.A., Schnorenberg, M.R., Tremain, A.C., Reda, J.W., Nicolaescu, V., Furlong, K., Dvorkin, S., Yu, S.S., Manicassamy, B.,  LaBelle, J.L., Tirrell, M.V., Randall, G., Kwissa, M., Swartz, M.A., Hubbell, J.A. (2021) Polymersomes decorated with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain elicit robust humoral and cellular immunity. ACS Central Science. 7(8):1368-1380. Volpatti, et al. 2021