I studied Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behaviour at University of California, Davis, before completing my PhD studying diabetes and diabetic complications at City of Hope National Medical Center. During my doctorate, I identified a class of metabolic biomarkers that predict diabetic nephropathy almost 20 years before diagnosis and are also implicated in the pathogenesis of vasculopathies.

I then joined the Immunology and Diabetes Unit in 2024, where I am utilising pre-clinical and stem cell models to dissect the mechanisms underlying beta cell autoimmunity and islet allograft rejection, with the goal of identifying strategies to mitigate the latter in beta cell replacement therapy. By systematically assessing the efficacy of these approaches, I seek to establish robust protective mechanisms that can sustain the long-term function and protection of transplanted beta cells without the need for chronic immunosuppression.  

Selected publications

Lai SWT, Hernandez-Castillo C, Gonzalez EJL, Zoukari T, Talley M, Paquin N, Chen Z, Roep BO, Kaddis JS, Natarajan R, Termini J, Shuck SC. Methylglyoxal Adducts Are Prognostic Biomarkers for Diabetic Kidney Disease in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes. 2024 Apr 1;73(4):611-617. doi: 10.2337/db23-0277. PMID: 37967313; PMCID: PMC10958582.

Lai SWT, Bhattacharya S, Lopez Gonzalez EJ, Shuck SC. Methylglyoxal-Derived Nucleoside Adducts Drive Vascular Dysfunction in a RAGE-Dependent Manner. Antioxidants (Basel). 2024 Jan 10;13(1):85. doi: 10.3390/antiox13010085. PMID: 38247509; PMCID: PMC10812505.

Lai SWT, Lopez Gonzalez EJ, Zoukari T, Ki P, Shuck SC. Methylglyoxal and Its Adducts: Induction, Repair, and Association with Disease. Chem Res Toxicol. 2022 Oct 17;35(10):1720-1746. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.2c00160. Epub 2022 Oct 5. PMID: 36197742; PMCID: PMC9580021.

Chen S, Lai SWT, Brown CE, Feng M. Harnessing and Enhancing Macrophage Phagocytosis for Cancer Therapy. Front Immunol. 2021 Mar 10;12:635173. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.635173. PMID: 33790906; PMCID: PMC8006289.

Chen J, Cao X, Li B, Zhao Z, Chen S, Lai SWT, Muend SA, Nossa GK, Wang L, Guo W, Ye J, Lee PP, Feng M. Warburg Effect Is a Cancer Immune Evasion Mechanism Against Macrophage Immunosurveillance. Front Immunol. 2021 Feb 2;11:621757. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.621757. PMID: 33603751; PMCID: PMC7884830.

Cao X, Lai SWT, Chen S, Wang S, Feng M. Targeting tumour-associated macrophages for cancer immunotherapy. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2022;368:61-108. doi: 10.1016/bs.ircmb.2022.02.002. Epub 2022 Apr 27. PMID: 35636930.