All Publications

  • Multiomics Modeling of Preterm Birth in Low- and Middle-Income Countries Espinosa Bernal, C. A., Shaw, G. M., Stevenson, D. K., Aghaeepour, N., MOMI Consortium SPRINGER HEIDELBERG. 2022: 49-50
  • VoPo leverages cellular heterogeneity for predictive modeling of single-cell data. Nature communications Stanley, N. n., Stelzer, I. A., Tsai, A. S., Fallahzadeh, R. n., Ganio, E. n., Becker, M. n., Phongpreecha, T. n., Nassar, H. n., Ghaemi, S. n., Maric, I. n., Culos, A. n., Chang, A. L., Xenochristou, M. n., Han, X. n., Espinosa, C. n., Rumer, K. n., Peterson, L. n., Verdonk, F. n., Gaudilliere, D. n., Tsai, E. n., Feyaerts, D. n., Einhaus, J. n., Ando, K. n., Wong, R. J., Obermoser, G. n., Shaw, G. M., Stevenson, D. K., Angst, M. S., Gaudilliere, B. n., Aghaeepour, N. n. 2020; 11 (1): 3738


    High-throughput single-cell analysis technologies produce an abundance of data that is critical for profiling the heterogeneity of cellular systems. We introduce VoPo (, a machine learning algorithm for predictive modeling and comprehensive visualization of the heterogeneity captured in large single-cell datasets. In three mass cytometry datasets, with the largest measuring hundreds of millions of cells over hundreds of samples, VoPo defines phenotypically and functionally homogeneous cell populations. VoPo further outperforms state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms in classification tasks, and identified immune-correlates of clinically-relevant parameters.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-17569-8

    View details for PubMedID 32719375

  • Anti-CTLA-4 therapy requires an Fc domain for efficacy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Ingram, J. R., Blomberg, O. S., Rashidian, M., Ali, L., Garforth, S., Fedorov, E., Fedorov, A. A., Bonanno, J. B., Le Gall, C., Crowley, S., Espinosa, C., Biary, T., Keliher, E. J., Weissleder, R., Almo, S. C., Dougan, S. K., Ploegh, H. L., Dougan, M. 2018; 115 (15): 3912-3917


    Ipilimumab, a monoclonal antibody that recognizes cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen (CTLA)-4, was the first approved "checkpoint"-blocking anticancer therapy. In mouse tumor models, the response to antibodies against CTLA-4 depends entirely on expression of the Fcγ receptor (FcγR), which may facilitate antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis, but the contribution of simple CTLA-4 blockade remains unknown. To understand the role of CTLA-4 blockade in the complete absence of Fc-dependent functions, we developed H11, a high-affinity alpaca heavy chain-only antibody fragment (VHH) against CTLA-4. The VHH H11 lacks an Fc portion, binds monovalently to CTLA-4, and inhibits interactions between CTLA-4 and its ligand by occluding the ligand-binding motif on CTLA-4 as shown crystallographically. We used H11 to visualize CTLA-4 expression in vivo using whole-animal immuno-PET, finding that surface-accessible CTLA-4 is largely confined to the tumor microenvironment. Despite this, H11-mediated CTLA-4 blockade has minimal effects on antitumor responses. Installation of the murine IgG2a constant region on H11 dramatically enhances its antitumor response. Coadministration of the monovalent H11 VHH blocks the efficacy of a full-sized therapeutic antibody. We were thus able to demonstrate that CTLA-4-binding antibodies require an Fc domain for antitumor effect.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1801524115

    View details for PubMedID 29581255

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5899492

  • PD-L1 is an activation-independent marker of brown adipocytes. Nature communications Ingram, J. R., Dougan, M., Rashidian, M., Knoll, M., Keliher, E. J., Garrett, S., Garforth, S., Blomberg, O. S., Espinosa, C., Bhan, A., Almo, S. C., Weissleder, R., Lodish, H., Dougan, S. K., Ploegh, H. L. 2017; 8 (1): 647


    Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) is expressed on a number of immune and cancer cells, where it can downregulate antitumor immune responses. Its expression has been linked to metabolic changes in these cells. Here we develop a radiolabeled camelid single-domain antibody (anti-PD-L1 VHH) to track PD-L1 expression by immuno-positron emission tomography (PET). PET-CT imaging shows a robust and specific PD-L1 signal in brown adipose tissue (BAT). We confirm expression of PD-L1 on brown adipocytes and demonstrate that signal intensity does not change in response to cold exposure or β-adrenergic activation. This is the first robust method of visualizing murine brown fat independent of its activation state.Current approaches to visualise brown adipose tissue (BAT) rely primarily on markers that reflect its metabolic activity. Here, the authors show that PD-L1 is expressed on brown adipocytes, does not change upon BAT activation, and that BAT volume in mice can be measured by PET-CT with a radiolabeled anti-PD-L1 antibody.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-017-00799-8

    View details for PubMedID 28935898

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5608754

  • Localized CD47 blockade enhances immunotherapy for murine melanoma. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Ingram, J. R., Blomberg, O. S., Sockolosky, J. T., Ali, L. n., Schmidt, F. I., Pishesha, N. n., Espinosa, C. n., Dougan, S. K., Garcia, K. C., Ploegh, H. L., Dougan, M. n. 2017; 114 (38): 10184–89


    CD47 is an antiphagocytic ligand broadly expressed on normal and malignant tissues that delivers an inhibitory signal through the receptor signal regulatory protein alpha (SIRPα). Inhibitors of the CD47-SIRPα interaction improve antitumor antibody responses by enhancing antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP) in xenograft models. Endogenous expression of CD47 on a variety of cell types, including erythrocytes, creates a formidable antigen sink that may limit the efficacy of CD47-targeting therapies. We generated a nanobody, A4, that blocks the CD47-SIRPα interaction. A4 synergizes with anti-PD-L1, but not anti-CTLA4, therapy in the syngeneic B16F10 melanoma model. Neither increased dosing nor half-life extension by fusion of A4 to IgG2a Fc (A4Fc) overcame the issue of an antigen sink or, in the case of A4Fc, systemic toxicity. Generation of a B16F10 cell line that secretes the A4 nanobody showed that an enhanced response to several immune therapies requires near-complete blockade of CD47 in the tumor microenvironment. Thus, strategies to localize CD47 blockade to tumors may be particularly valuable for immune therapy.

    View details for PubMedID 28874561