© 2019 LAHS STEAM Week

Dr. Drake LaFace

Xyphos | Immunologist

The Evolution of Immuno-Oncology, Stimulating the Immune System to Fight Cancer

Seeking out pleasure and avoiding pain are fundamental to human existence. But how do our brains process pleasure and pain? One of the most interesting findings in neuroscience in that last 50 years, is the discovery that the areas of the brain which process pleasure, are co-located with those that process pain. Pleasure and pain work like a balance, and by understanding the neuroscience regulating this balance, we can understand why drugs and alcohol, but also behaviors like playing videogames, checking Snapchat, eating chocolate, and Juuling, can ultimately cause suffering. Understanding the balance also helps us make better choices about what and how to indulge in highly pleasurable activities.

​Meet Dr. Drake LaFace

Received a Ph.D. degree in immunology and medical sciences from The University of Florida at the Shands Medical Center. I continued my training as a post-doctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute and the La Jolla Institute of Immunology. I have a deep passion for transforming basic research into novel therapeutics to treat human disease. I began my career in biotechnology at Schering Plough, which merged with Merck & Co. in 2009, where I contributed to and led several projects to develop novel biotherapeutics to treat autoimmunity and cancer. I have published over 75 research manuscripts and 12 patents in the discovery research fields of autoimmunity and immuno-oncology. I am currently working at Xyphos, Inc., a small biotech company in South San Francisco, developing novel CAR-T cell therapies for cancer indications.