Lab News

06/29/2022: Qianqian's paper on the structure of LAG3 was published in Nature Immunology.  This was truly outstanding work by Dr. Qianqian Ming, who determined the first structure of the emerging immune checkpoint receptor LAG3. This allowed her to determine how inhibitory antibodies and the ligand FGL1 regulate LAG3 function to suppress the immune system. Paper link here:

Excellent commentary in this News & Views article by Dr. Jamie Rossjohn:

Research briefing highlighting the backstory and major findings:

03/14/2022: David's paper on the high-affinity Notch ligand "DeltaMAX" waas deposited in Biorxiv. In this paper, we describe the structure-guided directed evolution of an ultra-potent DLL4 ligand. This novel biomedical tool may be used to either agonize or antagonize Notch signaling, depending on the format in which it is presented. We explored its potential to enhance the activation of human T cells, but we anticipate it will have broad applications in immunotherapy and regenerative medicine. Check it out here:

02/22/2022: Luca and Ruffell labs awarded a Breakthrough Award from the CDMRP Breast Cancer Research Program.

For this three-year project, our lab will engineer antibodies that inhibit cell-surface enzymes from driving breast cancer progression. Antibodies will be adapted through PROTAC-like technologies to both degrade and antagonize enzyme function.

01/31/2022: Luca lab awarded a Bankhead Coley Cancer Research Program. This three-year award from the state of Florida will support our research into the structure and signaling mechanisms of next-generation immune checkpoint receptors.

09/20/2021: Luca and Morse labs awarded a Breakthrough Award from the DoD Breast Cancer Research Program.
For this collaborative project, our lab is designing bi-specific proteins for imaging nodal metastases in breast cancer. Our long-term goal is to eliminate the invasive procedure of sentinel node biopsy altogether!

09/01/2019: The Luca Lab is awarded an NIGMS R35 MIRA award for Early Stage Investigators.

We will be continuing our work focused on understanding the molecular biology of Notch signaling due to a generous award from the NIGMS. The MIRA award will allow us maximum freedom to explore new avenues for understanding and targeting various components of the Notch signaling axis. This is the lab's first R-series grant and will allow us to greatly expand our research program and make new hires. Please see our "opportunities" page for more details!
06/07/2019: Qianqian and David's review on stabilizing low-affiity interactions for structural studies is published in Exp Biol Med!
Summary: Low-affinity protein interactions, while biologically essential, have been difficult to visualize by traditional methods in structural biology. In this review, we describe a series of innovative molecular engineering strategies that have been used to stabilize weakly bound protein complexes for structure determination. By highlighting several examples from the literature along with potential advantages and disadvantages of the individual approaches, we hope to provide an introductory resource for structural biologists studying low-affinity systems.
01/30/19 - Vince discusses biotech company's claims of a "universal cancer cure" on CBS news.
Additional commentary in the article from Daily Mail.
"'The Israeli scientists’ reports of a “universal cancer cure” have not been substantiated through publications in peer-reviewed articles, nor have they been demonstrated in human clinical trials, and their claims should be met with extreme skepticism.' 
12/08/18 - The Invincebles run Miles for Moffitt
Our Miles for Moffitt Team, The Invincebles, completes the race!
Miles for Moffitt is an amazing fundraiser from the local community that supports cancer research. This year the event raised over $1 million dollars.
Special thanks to our donors and to all of the team members on our esteemed Invincebles squad!
Moffitt researchers Uriel Jean-Baptiste, Qianqian Ming & Wei Mu on race day.
The Invincebles
Post-race celebration at the Invincebles Team Tent.