Our Faculty

Lev Becker, PhD

Macrophage dysregulation is a hallmark of chronic sterile inflammatory diseases including cancer, atherosclerosis, and obesity/type 2 diabetes. Because macrophages are highly influenced by their environment, we need to understand how disease-specific changes to their environment dysregulate specific pathways to drive pathogenesis. Moreover, the relationship between these macrophage pathways to those required for pathogen clearance is largely unknown, which is important because attempts to therapeutically target macrophages must preserve this important function. Comparing and contrasting macrophages across a spectrum of diseases is therefore required to elucidate disease-specific mechanisms, and to develop therapeutics that are both efficacious and safe. To enable this, my lab combines proteomic, bioinformatic, immunologic, and functional approaches to study macrophages in an unbiased manner across a spectrum of diseases.



Our long-term goal is to develop a robust research program that uses a multi-disease approach to develop a comprehensive understanding of macrophage biology, and then translates this mechanistic understanding to develop therapeutics across a spectrum of human disease. To this end, my lab is developing 2 new therapies for the treatment of many cancers and anti-inflammatory therapies that do not interfere with pathogen clearance for treating atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes.

University of Washington
Seattle, WA, USA
Post-doctoral studies - Proteomics, Macrophages
2009

Queen's University
Kingston, ON, CAN
PhD - Biochemistry
2003

GigC, a LysR Family Transcription Regulator, Is Required for Cysteine Metabolism and Virulence in Acinetobacter baumannii.
Gebhardt MJ, Czyz DM, Singh S, Zurawski DV, Becker L, Shuman HA. GigC, a LysR Family Transcription Regulator, Is Required for Cysteine Metabolism and Virulence in Acinetobacter baumannii. Infect Immun. 2020 Dec 15; 89(1).
PMID: 33077621

SMRT Regulates Metabolic Homeostasis and Adipose Tissue Macrophage Phenotypes in Tandem.
Kahn JH, Goddi A, Sharma A, Heiman J, Carmona A, Li Y, Hoffman A, Schoenfelt K, Ye H, Bobe AM, Becker L, Hollenberg AN, Cohen RN. SMRT Regulates Metabolic Homeostasis and Adipose Tissue Macrophage Phenotypes in Tandem. Endocrinology. 2020 Oct 01; 161(10).
PMID: 32770234

CFTR Modulator Therapy Enhances Peripheral Blood Monocyte Contributions to Immune Responses in People With Cystic Fibrosis.
Hisert KB, Birkland TP, Schoenfelt KQ, Long ME, Grogan B, Carter S, Liles WC, McKone EF, Becker L, Manicone AM, Gharib SA. CFTR Modulator Therapy Enhances Peripheral Blood Monocyte Contributions to Immune Responses in People With Cystic Fibrosis. Front Pharmacol. 2020; 11:1219.
PMID: 33013356

Ivacaftor decreases monocyte sensitivity to interferon-? in people with cystic fibrosis.
Hisert KB, Birkland TP, Schoenfelt KQ, Long ME, Grogan B, Carter S, Liles WC, McKone EF, Becker L, Manicone AM. Ivacaftor decreases monocyte sensitivity to interferon-? in people with cystic fibrosis. ERJ Open Res. 2020 Apr; 6(2).
PMID: 32337217

Hematopoietic Cell-Expressed Endothelial Nitric Oxide Protects the Liver From Insulin Resistance.
Dick BP, McMahan R, Knowles T, Becker L, Gharib SA, Vaisar T, Wietecha T, O'Brien KD, Bornfeldt KE, Chait A, Kim F. Hematopoietic Cell-Expressed Endothelial Nitric Oxide Protects the Liver From Insulin Resistance. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2020 03; 40(3):670-681.
PMID: 31996027

Metabolic regulation of gene expression by histone lactylation.
Zhang D, Tang Z, Huang H, Zhou G, Cui C, Weng Y, Liu W, Kim S, Lee S, Perez-Neut M, Ding J, Czyz D, Hu R, Ye Z, He M, Zheng YG, Shuman HA, Dai L, Ren B, Roeder RG, Becker L, Zhao Y. Metabolic regulation of gene expression by histone lactylation. Nature. 2019 10; 574(7779):575-580.
PMID: 31645732

Metabolically activated adipose tissue macrophages link obesity to triple-negative breast cancer.
Tiwari P, Blank A, Cui C, Schoenfelt KQ, Zhou G, Xu Y, Khramtsova G, Olopade F, Shah AM, Khan SA, Rosner MR, Becker L. Metabolically activated adipose tissue macrophages link obesity to triple-negative breast cancer. J Exp Med. 2019 06 03; 216(6):1345-1358.
PMID: 31053611

A DNA-based fluorescent reporter maps HOCl production in the maturing phagosome.
Thekkan S, Jani MS, Cui C, Dan K, Zhou G, Becker L, Krishnan Y. A DNA-based fluorescent reporter maps HOCl production in the maturing phagosome. Nat Chem Biol. 2019 12; 15(12):1165-1172.
PMID: 30531966

Gallium disrupts bacterial iron metabolism and has therapeutic effects in mice and humans with lung infections.
Goss CH, Kaneko Y, Khuu L, Anderson GD, Ravishankar S, Aitken ML, Lechtzin N, Zhou G, Czyz DM, McLean K, Olakanmi O, Shuman HA, Teresi M, Wilhelm E, Caldwell E, Salipante SJ, Hornick DB, Siehnel RJ, Becker L, Britigan BE, Singh PK. Gallium disrupts bacterial iron metabolism and has therapeutic effects in mice and humans with lung infections. Sci Transl Med. 2018 09 26; 10(460).
PMID: 30257953

Obesity and Insulin Resistance Promote Atherosclerosis through an IFN?-Regulated Macrophage Protein Network.
Reardon CA, Lingaraju A, Schoenfelt KQ, Zhou G, Cui C, Jacobs-El H, Babenko I, Hoofnagle A, Czyz D, Shuman H, Vaisar T, Becker L. Obesity and Insulin Resistance Promote Atherosclerosis through an IFN?-Regulated Macrophage Protein Network. Cell Rep. 2018 06 05; 23(10):3021-3030.
PMID: 29874587

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J Clifford Moos Award for Cancer Research
University of Chicago
2017 - 2020

Young Investigator Award
Cancer Research Foundation
2014 - 2016

Young Investigator Award
3rd International Symposium Integrated Biomarkers in Cardiovascular Disease
2008 - 2008

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
Canadian Institutes of Health and Research
2005 - 2008

Doctoral Research Fellowship
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
2002 - 2003