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 currently inviting applications for a postdoctoral position in the area of immune modulation through targeting the BCL-2 family of proteins. Applicants should have a strong background in use of murine models, cellular immunology, or BCL-2 family of proteins.  If interested please send CV to


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

Welcome NIH Prep Scholar Rudy Cheong to the lab!

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

Congratulations to Rosy on passing her Cancer Biology Committee Qualifying Exam!

Recent Publications

January, 2020:  Ludwig, LM, Roach LE, Katz, SG, LaBelle JL.  Loss of BIM in T Cells Results in BCL-2 Family BH3-member Compensation but Incomplete Cell Death Sensitivity Normalization.  Apoptosis 10 (epub, ahead of print): (2020).  PubMed

November, 2019:  Hadji A, Schmitt GK, Roach L, Hickey CM, Leak LB, Tirrell MV, LaBelle JL.  Preferential Targeting of MCL-1 by a Hydrocarbon-Stapled BIM BH3 Peptide.  Oncotarget 10 (58): 6219-6233 (2019).  PubMed

August, 2019:  Schnorenberg MR, Bellairs JA, Sameekia R, Acar H, Tirrell MV, LaBelle JL.  Activating the Intrinsic Pathway of Apoptosis Using BIM BH3 Peptides Delivered by Peptide Amphiphiles with Endosomal Release.  Materials 12 (16), 2567 (2019).  PubMed