Mutations are required for oncogenesis; however, microenvironmental factors play a major role in shaping cancer progression and therapeutic responses. The incidence of many cancers increase in aged and obese individuals; whereas, the ability to successfully treat patients in these demographics are historically poor. 

Research conducted in the our laboratory focuses on understanding how these inflammatory microenvironments impact the function of leukemia and lymphoma cells. Our overall goal of this knowledge is to improve chemo- and immune-based therapies in aged and obese patients with these diseases.    

Miyoung Lee, PhD, Research Instructor

Education: BS (Microbiology), Pusan National University (South Korea); MS (Microbiology), Seoul National University (South Korea); PhD (Immunology), University of California Davis

Current Project: My project focuses on determining how obesity-induced lectins on leukemia and lymphoma cells promote disease development and chemoresistance. 

Fun Fact: I am an avid tennis player and play in the ALTA/USTA league.

Email: miyoung.lee@emory.edu


Jamie A.G.Hamilton, BS, Cancer Biology Graduate Student, Doctoral Candidate

Education: BS (Molecular Biology [major]/ Chemistry [minor]), Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University

Current Projects: My primary project focuses on understanding how adipocyte-produced interleukin-9 (IL-9) impacts B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) pathogenesis.  

My secondary project focuses on delineating how interleukin-37 (IL-37) impacts the function of aged endogenous and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells.

Fun Fact: I enjoy writing children’s books and finding new places to hike and explore. 

Contact Info: jamie.aaron.golden.hamilton@emory.edu


Delaney Geitgey, BS, Cancer Biology Graduate Student

Education: BS (Biological Sciences [major]/ Applied Nutrition [minor]), Ohio University Honors Tutorial College

Current Project: My project focuses on altered T cell metabolism in the context of obesity and how this interplay influences the pathogenesis and treatment outcomes of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL).

Fun Fact: I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 and have been playing ever since.

Email: delaney.geitgey@emory.edu


Emily C. Sullivan, BS, Molecular & Systems Pharmacology Graduate Student

Education: BS (Biochemistry), University of New Hampshire

Co-PI:  Dr. Sunil S. Raikar, Dept. of Pediatrics, Emory University SOM

Current Projects: My primary project focuses on the creation of Galectin-9-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells to target hard-to-treat cancers in persons with and without obesity.

My second project, in collaboration with Anna Kellner and Dr. Khalid Salaita (Professor, Biomedical Engineering; the Georgia Institute of Technology), involves using biomechanics to develop a quality control mechanism to test the potency of CAR T-cells prior to and post-infusion into patients.

Fun Fact: I love taking weekend trips to new cities each month!

Email: emily.sullivan@emory.edu


Current Emory University/Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech) Undergraduate Students

Kwame Armah (Emory)

Uma Obalapuram (Emory)

Kara Michaud (Emory)

Muna Nour (Emory)

Ayjah Brown (Emory)

Matthew J. Melendez (Georgia Tech)

Former Emory Undergraduate Students

Raira Ank, MS

Nidhi Mahagaokar, MPH (Current: Program Manager-Medicare Part D, Clinical Pharmacy GMDP 1; New York City Metropolitan Area)

Langston Michael, BS (Current: Graduate Student at the Medical University of South Carolina, Cardiovascular Perfusion; Charleston, South Carolina)

Ruwenne Moodley, MPH (Current: Program Coordinator at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; Atlanta, GA)

Alyssia Parsons, BS (Current:  Graduate Student at Duke University with a concentration in Global Health; Durham, North Carolina)

Anthony Ross, MD (Current: Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist at Indiana University Health)

Talia Sisroe, BS (Current:  Medical Student at the Medical College of Georgia; Albany, GA)

Camille Tan, MPH (Current: Medical Student at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UPCM); Manila, Philippines)

Niyati Upadhyay, BS (Current:  Medical Student at Florida Atlantic University Schmidt College of Medicine; Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

Wincie Wang, BS (Current: Healthcare Private Equity Analyst; Hong Kong SAR)

Hamilton JA, Lee MY, Hunter R, Ank RS, Story J, Talekar G, Ballak DB, Porter CC, Eisenmesser EZ, Dinarello CA, Raikar SS, DeGregori J, and Henry CJ. Interleukin-37 Improves T-cell Mediated Immunity and Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell Therapy in Aged Backgrounds. Aging Cell. 2021. Jan 22. doi/10.1111/acel.13309.

Pulous FE, Carnevale JC, Al-Yafeai Z, Pearson BH, Hamilton JAG, Henry CJ, Orr AW, and Petrich BG. Talin-Dependent Integrin Activation is Required for Endothelial Proliferation and Postnatal Angiogenesis. Angiogenesis. 2020. Oct 28. doi: 10.1007/s10456-020-09756-4.

Priscilla D, Perdue LA, Chyong A, Hunter R, Dougan J, Henry CJ, Porter CC, and Dreaden EC. Rapid Assembly and Screening of Multivalent Immune Cell-Redirecting Therapies for Leukemia.  ACS Combinatorial Science. 2020. doi: 10.1021/acscombsci.0c00081.

Sylvetsky AC, Sen S, Merkel P, Dore F, Stern DB, Henry CJ, Kai H, Walter PJ, Crandall KA, Rother KI, and Hubal MJ. Consumption of Diet Soda Sweetened with Sucralose and Acesulfame-Potassium Alters Inflammatory Transcriptome Pathways in Young Adults with Overweight and Obesity. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 2020. Jun;64(11):e1901166.doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201901166. 

Rabe JL, Gardner LA, Dougan J, Gearheart CM, Fonseca J, Leibowitz M, Miller CL, Baturin D, Fosmire SP, Zelasko S, Jones CL, Slansky JE, Rupji M, Dwivedi B, Henry CJ, and Porter CC. IL-12 Abrogates Calcineurin-dependent Immune Evasion During Leukemia Progression. Cancer Research. 2019. Jul 15;79(14):3702-3713.

Sherick AL, Jacobsen KM, Henry CJ, Huey M, Parker RE, Page L, Hill AA, Wang X, Frye S, Earp S, Jordan CT, DeRyckere D, and Graham DK. MERTK Inhibition Alters the PD-1 axis and Promotes Anti-leukemia Immunity. JCI Insight. 2018. Nov 2;3(21):e97941.

Marchetti C, Swartzwelter B, Gamboni F, Neff C, Richter K, Azam T, Carta S, Tengesdal I, Nemkov T, D-Alessandro A, Henry C, Jones G, Goodrich S, Laurent J, Jones T, Scribner C, Barrow R, Altman R, Skouras D, Gattorno M, Grau V, Janciauskiene S, Rubartelli A, Joosten L, and Dinarello C. OLT1177, a β‑sulfonyl Nitrile Compound Safe in Humans, Inhibits the NLRP3 Inflammasome and Reverses the Metabolic Cost of Inflammation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2018. Feb 13; 115(7):E1530-E1539.

Henry CJ, Nemkov T, Casas-Selves M, Bilousova G, Zaberezhnyy V, Higa K, Serkova N, Hansen K, D’Alessandro A, and DeGregori J. Folate Dietary Insufficiency and Folic Acid Supplementation Similarly Impair Metabolism and Compromise Hematopoiesis. Haematologica. 2017. Dec; 102(12):1985-1994.

Henry CJ, Casas-Selves M, Kim J, Zaberezhnyy V, Aghili L, Daniel AE, Azam T, McNamee E, Clambey ET, Klawitter J, Serkova N, Tan AC, Dinarello CA, and DeGregori J. Aging-associated Inflammation Promotes Selection for Adaptive Oncogenic Events in B-cell Progenitors.  The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2015.  125(12):4666-80.

Henry CJ, Sedjo R, Rozhok A, Salstrom J, Ahnen D, Levin T, D’Agostino R, Haffner S, DeGregori J, and Byers T.  Lack of Significant Association between Serum Inflammatory Cytokine Profiles and the Presence of Colorectal Adenoma.  BMC Cancer. 2015. Mar 14; 15:123

Bahmed K, Henry C, Holliday M, Redzic J, Ciobanu M, Zhang F, Weekes C, Sclafani R, DeGregori J, and Eisenmesser E.  Extracellular Cyclophilin-A Stimulates Erk1/2 in a Cell-Dependent Manner but Broadly Stimulates Nuclear Factor Kappa B. Cancer Cell International. 2012. Jul 4; 12(1):19.

Mitchell LM, Brzoza-Lewis KL, Henry CJ, Grayson JM, Westcott ML, and Hiltbold EM.  Distinct responses of splenic dendritic cell subsets to infection with Listeria monocytogenes: Maturation phenotype, level of infection, and T cell priming capacity ex vivo.  Cellular Immunology.  2011. 268:79-86.

Henry CJ, Marusky A, Zaberezhynny V, Adane B, and DeGregori J. Declining Lymphoid Progenitor Fitness Promotes Aging-associated Leukemogenesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2010. 107(50): 21713-8.

Henry CJ, Grayson JM, Brzoza-Lewis KL, Westcott ML, Mitchell LM, Cook AS, and Hiltbold EM. The Roles of IL-12 and IL-23 in CD8+ T cell-Mediated Immunity Against Listeria monocytogenes:  Insights From a DC Vaccination Model. Cellular Immunology. 2010. 264(1):23-31.

Westcott MM, Henry CJ, Amis JE, and Hiltbold EM. Dendritic Cells Inhibit the Progression of Listeria monocytogenes Intracellular Infection by Retaining Bacteria in MHC II-rich Phagosomes and by Limiting Cytosoloic Growth. Infection and Immunity.  2010.  78(7):2956-65.

Marusyk A, Casas-Selves M, Henry CJ, Zaberezhnyy V, Klawitter J, Christians U, and DeGregori J. Irradiation Alters Selection for Oncogenic Mutations in Hematopoietic Progenitors. Cancer Research. 2009.  69:  7262-69.

Henry CJ, Ornelles DA, Mitchell LM, Brzoza-Lewis KL, and Hiltbold, EM. IL-12 Produced by Dendritic Cells Augments CD8+ T cell Activation through the Production of the Chemokines CCL1 and CCL17.  Journal of Immunology. 2008.  181: 8576-8584.

Westcott ML, Henry CJ, Cook AS, Grant KW, and Hiltbold EM. Differential susceptibility of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells and macrophages to productive infection with Listeria monocytogenes. Cellular Microbiology. 2007. 9(6):1397-411.

*Denotes authors contributed equally to this manuscript. **Denotes corresponding author(s).

Book Chapters

Henry CJ, Rozhok A, DeGregori J. (2015). Hematopoietic Stem Cell Aging and Leukemogenesis. Eds. Geiger H, Jasper H, Florian MC. In Stem Cell Aging: Mechanisms, Consequences, Rejuvenation. pp. 259-283. Springer.

Review Articles

Hamilton JAG and Henry CJ. Aging and Immunotherapies: New Horizons for the Golden Ages. Aging and Cancer. 2020. Sept. 30. doi.org/10.1002/aac2.12014

Henry CJ, Marusky A, and DeGregori J. Aging-Associated Changes in Hematopoiesis and Leukemogenesis:  What’s the Connection.  Aging. 2011. Jun; 3(6):643-56.


View more publications

Swim Across America

Delineating the Impact of Obesity on CAR T-cell Immunotherapy in Pediatric Leukemia and Lymphoma

Winship Invest$

Delineating the Impact of IL-37 on the Function of Endogenous and Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cells in Aged Backgrounds

Center for Pediatric Cellular Therapies (CPCT)

Delineating the Relationship Between T-Cell Membrane Biomechanics and Functional Outcomes

CDMRP/Department of Defense 

Development of bi-specific, T cell engaging cytokine loaded nanoparticles (BiTEokines) for the treatment of childhood cancers

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research 

Delineating how Obesity Induces Chemoresistance in B-Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Cells

Aflac Pilot Grant

Dissecting how Adipocyte-produced Interleukin-9 regulates leukemogenesis and therapeutic efficacy

Emory University School of Medicine (Research Trust Start-up Funding)

Delineating the role of obesity-driven chronic inflammation on hematopoiesis, immunity, and increased leukemogenesis