University of Minnesota
MICaB Graduate Program
MICaB Home | U of M Medical School | Graduate School

Unit's home page.

Current Students

Xianda Zhao

Thesis Advisor: Subbaya Subramanian

Year entered: 2014

Degrees received:
B.M., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2014

Advances in immunotherapy have led to a paradigm shift in the treatment of cancers. Remarkable clinical responses have achieved in certain patients after immune checkpoint blockade therapy. However, one of the biggest challenges in cancer therapeutics is intrinsic resistance, i.e. insensitivity of treatment. My research goals are understanding the mechanisms of intrinsic resistance to immune checkpoint blockade therapies and investigating novel combinational treatments to release the resistance in pre-clinical cancer models.

Specifically, by collaborating with lab members, I am working on four closely linked projects:
1. Establishing a novel minimal invasive orthotopic pre-clinical colorectal cancer model.
2. Investigating the impact of ACKR4/CCL21/CCL19 chemokine gradient between tumor and tumor draining lymph nodes on antigen presentation.
3. Investigating combination of modified tumor derived extracellular vesicles with immune checkpoint blockades in colorectal cancer pre-clinical model.
4. Investigating the significance of tumor draining lymph nodes in immune checkpoint blockades sensitivity.


  • X. Zhao, S. Subramanian. 2017. Intrinsic Resistance of Solid Tumors to Immune Checkpoint Blockade Therapy. Cancer Res. 5;77(4):817-822.
  • X. Zhao, L. Li, T. Starr, S. Subramanian. 2017. Tumor location impacts immune response in mouse models of colon cancer. Oncotarget. In Press
  • S. Banerjee, S. Modi, O. McGinn, X. Zhao, V. Dudeja, S. Ramakrishnan, A. Saluja. 2016. Impaired Synthesis of Stromal Components in Response to Minnelide Improves Vascular Function, Drug Delivery, and Survival in Pancreatic Cancer. Clin Cancer Res 15;22(2):415-25.
  • R.I. Vogel, T. Pulver, W. Heilmann, A. Mooneyham, S. Mullany, X. Zhao, M. Shahi, J. Richter, M. Klein, L. Chen, R. Ding, G. Konecny, S. Kommoss, B. Winterhoff, R. Ghebre, M. Bazzaro. 2016. USP14 is a predictor of recurrence in endometrial cancer and a molecular target for endometrial cancer treatment. Oncotarget [Epub ahead of print]