Resource Spotlight: Human Immune Monitoring Core

July 19, 2020

The Human Immune Monitoring Core (HIMC) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center is a hub for comprehensive immune profiling and expert support for advanced immunological research studies. Led by faculty director Charles G. Drake, MD, PhD and manager Xinzheng (Victor) Guo, PhD, the HIMC provides researchers at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) and beyond a suite of unique services, including state-of-the-art technology platforms for multiplex tissue imaging and spatial analysis using advanced machine learning tools and for massively-parallel and multi-omic analysis of single-cell gene expression and immune profiles.

“Cutting-edge science and breakthrough discoveries for immunology and cancer therapy require deep understanding of the complex immune system and host-cancer interactions and analysis of precious human samples at high resolution, high content, high throughput and high quality,” says Dr. Guo. “Our team helps researchers gain such insights with our state-of-the-art technologies, novel and robust assay development, and efficient services, allowing for important and exciting discoveries. For clinicians, we have an additional goal to bridge the gap between bedside and benches, enabling them to conduct most advanced research by simply submitting patient samples and receiving high quality data in an efficient manner.”

The HIMC has provided unique and critical services in several exciting studies. In the fight against COVID-19 and the rush to find prophylaxis and treatments for this highly contagious disease, the HIMC team helped renowned virologist Dr. David D. Ho and his team to quickly identify and sequence relatively rare B cells that produce highly effective and protective antibodies against the virus from recovered patients, allowing these antibodies to be rapidly manufactured and characterized, with the potential to save millions of lives in future epidemics.

In a recent study led by Dr. Drake, the HIMC used its 10x Genomics single cell sequencing technology and the Vectra multiplex tissue imaging and analysis platform to help the genitourinary oncology group in discovering a novel mechanism of cancer recurrence in renal cell carcinoma that involves TREM2 and C1q macrophages.

Currently, the HIMC is helping various research groups at the HICCC and beyond in understanding the pathology of COVID-related damages in patient lungs, studying immunological changes and mechanisms of novel treatments for various cancers and improving transplant successes, determining how aging affects individuals’ immune systems and their susceptibility to infections, and investigating the underlying mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, and more.

For a comprehensive list of the core’s services and for more details, visit the HIMC website or contact Dr. Guo at or 212-304-7607.