Mr Wei-Che Chang
DPhil in Medical Sciences Student
I am Wei-Che Chang, currently a DPhil student in Prof Ronjon Chakraverty’s group in University of Oxford.
The aim of my DPhil project is to delineate the heterogeneity of naïve T cells by evaluating different elements (proteome, transcriptome, epigenome, and function) within the naïve T cell compartment. Age of cells, tonic signalling, time spent in the periphery and prior cytokine exposures all have a role in regulating the properties of naïve T cells. This research question is of great fundamental biological relevance as this will counter the dogma that naïve T cells have a homogeneous composition. Importantly, addressing the possible diversity within the naïve T cell populations might stimulate further research to decipher the purpose and functions of putative naïve T cell subpopulations in adaptive immunity. In addition, this information will have translational value. By understanding the diversity naïve T cells, we will focus on assessing which subsets of naïve T cells possess the greatest tendency to generate memory T cells that have the greatest therapeutic potential. These results may potentially be translated into CAR-T production for clinical benefit. In summary, we aim to document the heterogeneity of naïve T cells, while translating their therapeutic potential into clinically relevant cellular therapies. The project is of substantial biological importance and possesses great translational value to cancer patients, which perfectly combines basic science while still holding on to the potential translational aspects of the findings.
Previously, I worked as a senior research associate in a start-up company, ARCE Therapeutics, specialising in immune cell therapies. Participated in the preclinical development of novel CAR-T and CAR-NK therapies against Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and other malignancies as one of the core members of the R&D team. I am also vigorously involved in the establishment of proprietary technologies and process development for immune cell therapies. As a founding member of the start-up company, I coordinated the design of a Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) laboratory and general office construction. Furthermore, I led the trademark applications for the company’s proprietary technology platforms.
Before my time in the start-up, I obtained a Distinction from MSc Cancer degree at UCL, which equipped me with extensive knowledge about cancer, including cancer biology, therapeutics, and clinical trial designs. On top of that, I evaluated the efficacies of ROR1 Bispecific T cell Engager (BiTE) and Trispecific antibody (Tribody) against NSCLC and TNBC in vitro, attempt to recreate the success of immunotherapies in haematological malignancies to solid tumours by targeting ROR1 and PD-1/PD-L1 signalling pathways in my MSc project. I studied my undergrads in National Taiwan University and via my undergraduate project, with promising results, me as a co-first author, published a SCI paper “Three-dimensional culture of chicken primordial germ cells (cPGCs) in defined media containing the functional polymer FP003.” (PLoS One, 13, e0200515.) on PLoS One in 2018.