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Lev Becker

TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionUniversity of Chicago
DepartmentBen May Department of Cancer Research
AddressChicago IL 60637
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    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview
    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.

    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    Queen's University, Kingston, ON, CANPhD09/2003Biochemistry
    University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USAPost-doctoral studies09/2009Proteomics, Macrophages
    Collapse awards and honors
    2017 - 2020J Clifford Moos Award for Cancer Research, University of Chicago
    2014 - 2016Young Investigator Award, Cancer Research Foundation
    2008 - 2008Young Investigator Award, 3rd International Symposium Integrated Biomarkers in Cardiovascular Disease
    2005 - 2008Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Canadian Institutes of Health and Research
    2002 - 2003Doctoral Research Fellowship, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse research activities and funding
    R01CA251677     (BECKER, LEV)Mar 1, 2021 - Feb 28, 2026
    Lactate production by tumor associated macrophages promotes tumorigenesis
    Role: Principal Investigator

    R01HL137998     (BECKER, LEV)Sep 1, 2018 - Jun 30, 2022
    A Macrophage Protein Network Links Obesity and type 2 Diabetes to Atherosclerosis
    Role: Principal Investigator

    R01DK102960     (BECKER, LEV)May 5, 2015 - Nov 30, 2024
    'Metabolically Activated' Macrophages in Obesity and Insulin Resistance
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    Newest   |   Oldest   |   Most Cited   |   Most Discussed   |   Timeline   |   Field Summary   |   Plain Text
    PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Ameka MK, Beavers WN, Shaver CM, Ware LB, Kerchberger VE, Schoenfelt KQ, Sun L, Koyama T, Skaar EP, Becker L, Hasty AH. An Iron Refractory Phenotype in Obese Adipose Tissue Macrophages Leads to Adipocyte Iron Overload. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 03; 23(13). PMID: 35806422; PMCID: PMC9267114.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    2. Cui C, Chakraborty K, Tang XA, Schoenfelt KQ, Hoffman A, Blank A, McBeth B, Pulliam N, Reardon CA, Kulkarni SA, Vaisar T, Ballabio A, Krishnan Y, Becker L. A lysosome-targeted DNA nanodevice selectively targets macrophages to attenuate tumours. Nat Nanotechnol. 2021 12; 16(12):1394-1402. PMID: 34764452.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    3. Suresh B, Saminathan A, Chakraborty K, Zajac M, Cui C, Becker L, Krishnan Y. Tubular lysosomes harbor active ion gradients and poise macrophages for phagocytosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 10 12; 118(41). PMID: 34607961; PMCID: PMC8522270.
      Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    4. Cui C, Schoenfelt KQ, Becker KM, Becker L. Isolation of polymorphonuclear neutrophils and monocytes from a single sample of human peripheral blood. STAR Protoc. 2021 12 17; 2(4):100845. PMID: 34604813; PMCID: PMC8473578.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    5. Webster KL, Becker L. Surplus Ceramides: An Added Twist in the Tale of TREM2 and Insulin Resistance. Diabetes. 2021 09; 70(9):1926-1928. PMID: 34417267.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    6. Cui C, Chakraborty K, Tang XA, Zhou G, Schoenfelt KQ, Becker KM, Hoffman A, Chang YF, Blank A, Reardon CA, Kenny HA, Vaisar T, Lengyel E, Greene G, Becker L. Neutrophil elastase selectively kills cancer cells and attenuates tumorigenesis. Cell. 2021 06 10; 184(12):3163-3177.e21. PMID: 33964209.
      Citations: 45     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    7. 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 12 15; 89(1). PMID: 33077621; PMCID: PMC7927930.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    8. 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 10 01; 161(10). PMID: 32770234; PMCID: PMC7478322.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    9. 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; PMCID: PMC7461946.
      Citations: 15     
    10. 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; PMCID: PMC7167213.
      Citations: 9     
    11. 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; PMCID: PMC7047596.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    12. 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; PMCID: PMC6818755.
      Citations: 457     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    13. 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; PMCID: PMC6547867.
      Citations: 40     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    14. 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; PMCID: PMC7034416.
      Citations: 14     Fields:    Translation:Cells
    15. 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; PMCID: PMC6637966.
      Citations: 74     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCellsCTClinical Trials
    16. 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; PMCID: PMC6082182.
      Citations: 33     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    17. Singhal H, Greene ME, Zarnke AL, Laine M, Al Abosy R, Chang YF, Dembo AG, Schoenfelt K, Vadhi R, Qiu X, Rao P, Santhamma B, Nair HB, Nickisch KJ, Long HW, Becker L, Brown M, Greene GL. Progesterone receptor isoforms, agonists and antagonists differentially reprogram estrogen signaling. Oncotarget. 2018 Jan 12; 9(4):4282-4300. PMID: 29435103; PMCID: PMC5796974.
      Citations: 28     Fields:    
    18. Coats BR, Schoenfelt KQ, Barbosa-Lorenzi VC, Peris E, Cui C, Hoffman A, Zhou G, Fernandez S, Zhai L, Hall BA, Haka AS, Shah AM, Reardon CA, Brady MJ, Rhodes CJ, Maxfield FR, Becker L. Metabolically Activated Adipose Tissue Macrophages Perform Detrimental and Beneficial Functions during Diet-Induced Obesity. Cell Rep. 2017 Sep 26; 20(13):3149-3161. PMID: 28954231; PMCID: PMC5646237.
      Citations: 111     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    19. Frankenberger C, Rabe D, Bainer R, Sankarasharma D, Chada K, Krausz T, Gilad Y, Becker L, Rosner MR. Metastasis Suppressors Regulate the Tumor Microenvironment by Blocking Recruitment of Prometastatic Tumor-Associated Macrophages. Cancer Res. 2015 Oct 01; 75(19):4063-73. PMID: 26238785; PMCID: PMC4592465.
      Citations: 62     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    20. Kratz M, Coats BR, Hisert KB, Hagman D, Mutskov V, Peris E, Schoenfelt KQ, Kuzma JN, Larson I, Billing PS, Landerholm RW, Crouthamel M, Gozal D, Hwang S, Singh PK, Becker L. Metabolic dysfunction drives a mechanistically distinct proinflammatory phenotype in adipose tissue macrophages. Cell Metab. 2014 Oct 07; 20(4):614-25. PMID: 25242226; PMCID: PMC4192131.
      Citations: 331     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    21. Almendros I, Wang Y, Becker L, Lennon FE, Zheng J, Coats BR, Schoenfelt KS, Carreras A, Hakim F, Zhang SX, Farr? R, Gozal D. Intermittent hypoxia-induced changes in tumor-associated macrophages and tumor malignancy in a mouse model of sleep apnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Mar 01; 189(5):593-601. PMID: 24471484; PMCID: PMC3977714.
      Citations: 78     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    22. Yurkovetskiy L, Burrows M, Khan AA, Graham L, Volchkov P, Becker L, Antonopoulos D, Umesaki Y, Chervonsky AV. Gender bias in autoimmunity is influenced by microbiota. Immunity. 2013 Aug 22; 39(2):400-12. PMID: 23973225; PMCID: PMC3822899.
      Citations: 391     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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