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

May 2021: We are currently for a creative, motivated, and energetic postdoc to join our group and work in the area of translational immune modulation through targeting the BCL-2 family of proteins.  If interested please apply and join in on the fun! Application Link 


Thank you to John and Jill Svoboda for supporting 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 2020 Research Scholar Award!

Welcome MD/PHD graduate student David Banks to the lab!

Welcome Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering Graduate Student Ed Jiang to the lab!

Selected Recent Publications

Siddiqui, A., Pinto, N., Applebaum, M.A., Cunningham, J.M., LaBelle, J.L., Nassin, M.L. (2021) The Addition of Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation to Neo-Adjuvant Chemotherapy, Radiation, and HIPEC for Patients with Unresectable Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor: A Single Center Case Series. International Journal of Surgery: Oncology. 5.e95. Siddiqui, et al. 2021

Ludwig, L.M., Roach, L.E., Katz, S.G.,  LaBelle, J.L. (2020) Loss of BIM in T Cells Results in BCL-2 Family BH3-member Compensation but Incomplete Cell Death Normalization. Apoptosis. 25:247-260. Ludwig, et al. 2020

Hadji, A., Schmitt, G. K., Schnorenberg, M. R., Roach L., Hickey, C.M., Leak, L.B., Tirrell, M.V., LaBelle, J.L. (2019) Preferential Targeting of MCL-1 by a Hydrocarbon-Stapled BIM BH3 Peptide. Oncotarget. 10:6219-6233. Hadji, et al. 2019