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Kenneth Hu, PhD

Parker Bridge Fellow (in partnership with the V Foundation for Cancer Research)


Kenneth Hu, PhD, started in life-sciences research as part of the SMART research program for high school students at Baylor College of Medicine. He focused on pathways for regulating stress-induced mutagenesis in Escherichia coli in the lab of Susan Rosenberg, PhD. As an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he worked in the lab of Jeroen Saeij, PhD, as part of the AMGEN Scholars program, investigating host responses to Toxoplasma gondii infection. Using microarray analysis and QTL mapping, Kenneth contributed to efforts to determine how the interplay between parasite and host factors ultimately decided the trajectory of infection.

As a graduate researcher in the lab of Manish Butte, MD, PhD, at Stanford, Kenneth developed a novel technique to measure force generation in real time by single cells using atomic force microscopy (AFM). He demonstrated the importance of cell-generated forces in promoting T-cell recognition of cognate antigen by using AFM-applied forces to substitute for cytoskeletally generated forces in deficient cells. This work was published in the Journal of Cell Biology.

He is a Parker Bridge Fellow and postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco, where he is now studying the communication between cell types in the tumor in the context of spatial positions. He developed a novel technique using light-based uncaging of nucleotides, allowing for regional barcoding of cells in a tissue. This allows for mapping single cell transcriptomes back to a microscopy image. His approach was used in various tissue types and was published in Nature Methods and Cancer Cell.

Education & Training

  • 2017: Stanford University, PhD, Biophysics
  • 2012: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS, Biology

Awards & Honors

  • 2022: Parker Bridge Fellow
  • 2020: American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2019: Parker Scholar
  • 2017: UCSF Institutional Training Grant T32