Dr. Erika Crosby
Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor in Surgery
Assistant Professor in Integrative Immunobiology
Assistant Professor in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Contact Information

Phone: (919) 684-6205
Email: erika.crosby@duke.edu


Illustrative representation of challenges for immunotherapy of solid tumors
Created with BioRender.com.

The Tumor Immune Microenvironment lab, under the direction of Dr. Erika Crosby, is broadly focused on leveraging multiomic, high dimensional approaches to understand and modify the immune microenvironment present in primary and metastatic tumor sites. Our lab is translationally focused and sits at the intersection of basic and clinical research where we use mouse models and clinical specimens in concert to ask and answer vital biological questions.

Intratumoral Therapy

Illustration of intratumoral therapy

There are many barriers to the treatment of solid tumors, including the physical barriers within the tumor itself. Intratumoral therapy allows for the injection of an immunotherapeutic agent directly into the tumor, bypassing the physical barrier and decreasing systemic immune toxicities.

Funded projects in the lab are ongoing to follow up on our published work (https://aacrjournals.org/clincancerres/article/27/9/2481/672156/Intratumoral-Plasmid-IL12-Expands-CD8-T-Cells-and) exploring the use of intratumoral plasmid IL-12 followed by electroporation.

Development of New Mouse Models

Illustration of development of new mouse models
Created with BioRender.com

Another focus in the lab is the development and use of mouse models that can better approximate the intact tumor immune microenvironment found in patients. To that end, we rely on a combination of more traditional implantable tumor models and novel genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models that develop spontaneous, oncogene driven cancer. Our GEM models allow for the study the full spectrum of tumor development and impact that immunotherapies can have in the treatment of these tumors. We have several funded and pilot projects to develop and test models of metastasis to both the bone and the liver in mice.

The Cutting Edge of Spacial Multiomics

Photo of spatial multiomics display

Up until now, we have relied on dissociated tissue analyzed by conventional and spectral flow cytometry, mass cytometry, and single cell RNA sequencing. Coming in Spring 2023, we will now be able to pair these powerful analyses with single cell resolution spatial information. One of the first 10x Genomics Xenium In Situ imaging platforms (https://www.10xgenomics.com/platforms/xenium) will be housed in our lab, allowing for unprecedented throughput and plexity of single cell spatial information. We will be rolling out both mouse and human analyses of breast tumors, pancreatic tumors, and pre- and post-metastatic livers to pair functional and spatial analysis of immune cell infiltration. This technology will be another tool in our lab to perform powerful immune monitoring of clinical samples and deep mechanistic analysis of model system samples.

Lab Members

In addition to Dr. Erika Crosby, the Tumor Immune Microenvironment Laboratory is comprised of the following team members:

Chris Rabiola and his child

I joined Duke in 2017 to assist Dr. Crosby as a Lab Research Analyst/Technician. Prior to that, I worked back in my home state of Nebraska for an ISO certified company making hematology (and other bodily fluid) controls, and before that in an academic setting doing bird research.

In short, I have many varied years of experience working in a lab environment. Outside of work I try to keep up with my son who (at the time of writing this bio) is 1.5 years old. As such, I currently don’t have any free time or hobbies. Perhaps I may again when he is older. I love to cook and eat, most often you will hear me discussing food.

Dr. Gabby Dailey holds her baby and smiles at the camera

I received my bachelor degree in Biochemistry at NC State University; from there I received my doctorate in Medicinal Biochemistry at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro doing research broadly involving RNA based viruses and host selenoprotein interactions.

I am currently a trainee on the Viral Oncology Training Grant and I am lucky to have two mentors here, Dr. Erika Crosby and Dr. Zachary Hartman. My background is in biochemistry and molecular biology, but under Dr. Erika Crosby, I have expanded my background and am now skilled in mouse models and animal handling. I am also learning a lot about immunology and cancer biology and really loving it.

I love most of my work, especially work regarding structure/function or ligand/receptor interaction at the protein level (just don’t ask me how I feel about western blots). My current project focuses on cell surface receptor CXCR3, its ligands CXCL9, 10 and 11, and their relationship with T cell and macrophage activation/polarization and how that affects the progression of breast cancers.

When I’m not trying to get the smell of the mouse room off of me or running assays, I am usually harassing my infant son and trying to get him to roll over when he is clearly over tummy time. I enjoy stand-up comedy, boxing, hiking, science fiction/fantasy novels, my nespresso, and sitting on my porch discussing fan fiction with my husband.

Dr. Anchit Bhagat

My ultimate career goal is to pursue basic science research with a strong translational perspective. I earned my Bachelors of Technology degree in Biotechnology at the Vellore Institute of Technology, India.

In the fall of 2012 I continued my education in the Master’s in Biotechnology program at the University of Pennsylvania. As a part of my Master’s curriculum I did an independent study in the lab of Dr Wei Tong at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. My study was entitled the “Regulation of Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) by Lnk adaptor protein”. I then joined the lab of Dr Cecilia Lo at the University of Pittsburgh as a Research Technician to bolster my research credentials. I worked on “The Role of Sonic Hedgehog signaling in fibroblasts of human patients with congenital heart disease” as my primary project along with carrying out other lab duties.

Following this, I successfully completed my Doctoral degree in Immunology from the MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in the laboratory of Dr Eugenie Kleinerman, MD. My project focused on the role of neutrophils and neutrophil elastase in doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher, with Dr Hartman and Dr Crosby as co-mentors, having joined the lab in January 2023. I am excited to enhance my knowledge on cancer immunology and immunotherapy through my projects here and build my research career towards my goal of becoming an independent research scientist. Outside of the lab I am an avid sports fan and I also participate in weekly bar trivia contests.

Dr. Jesuchristopher Joseph

He completed his Ph.D. in the field of Image processing (2008) at Anna University, India and joined as a postdoctoral fellow at MRC UCT Imaging center, Cape town, South Africa. He spent four years working with MRI image data and developed shape analysis pipeline.

In 2012 he joined Oncomark Ltd., specialized in Histopathological image analysis and supported several FP7 projects. During his presence he assisted in setting up Digital pathology Pipeline at Oncomark. Dr. Jesu joined molecular pathology group at AstraZeneca, Cambridge, United Kingdom in 2015 and supported image analysis project and developed his own deep learning pipeline to analyze histopathology images. In 2018, he Joined City of Hope, Duarte, California, in the Population Facing research core as Staff scientist and supported digital pathology initiative though his core.

Dr. Jesu has experience with commercial image analysis software include Aperio, Definiens, Halo, VisioPharm and Image management software such as Eslide manager and Pathcore. Dr. Jesu’s expertise is in the area of Image processing, Digital Pathology, Deep Learning, Software development and Data analysis. He joined Dr. Crosby’s lab group in December 2022. His hobbies includes photography, video editing, and cooking.

Contact Us

Are you interested in immunotherapies, metastasis, or single cell and spatial multiomics? We are always looking to grow our team, including a post-doctoral fellowship, graduate student training, technical position, or undergraduate research opportunity. Please email erika.crosby@duke.edu.


Are you interested in collaborating? We support team science and would love to hear about your work and how we can engage with you. Please email erika.crosby@duke.edu.

Funded Projects and Publications

View Dr. Crosby's funded projects and publications on her faculty profile.