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Charles C. Chu, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-6925

Fax: (585) 276-2576

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments

Biography

I have always been interested in the natural world and enjoy solving puzzles. As I started research into the molecular biology of living organisms, I became more drawn to studies that could have more direct impact on human health. In particular, I became fascinated by the biology of B cells and their production of antibodies. This led to the study of B cell cancers, primarily chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Research has now taken me to areas of study that I hope will lead to substantial therapeutic advances for all types of white blood cell cancers, such as:

- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia/Small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL)
- Hairy cell leukemia
- Prolymphocytic leukemia
- Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia)
- Large granular lymphocytic leukemia
- Diffuse large B cell lymphoma
- Follicular lymphoma
- Mantle cell lymphoma
- Marginal zone lymphoma

Professional Background

Dr. Charles Chu is a highly experienced and internationally recognized researcher in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and related lymphoid malignancies. His doctoral research in Genetics at the University of California, Berkeley concerned bacterial genes involved in DNA recombination in Eschericia coli. Subsequently, Dr. Chu received postdoctoral training in immunology at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease in the laboratory of Dr. William E. Paul, where he studied immunoglobulin class switching and interleukin-four induced genes. After joining the faculty at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Chu became interested in CLL. In 2016 he was appointed to the faculty of the Wilmot Cancer Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center as a Research Associate Professor of Medicine.

Research

My laboratory research is primarily focused on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common adult leukemia in the Western world, with an estimated 20,110 new cases and 4,660 deaths for the year 2017 in the United States of America alone.

CLL is derived from a B lymphocyte, a cell that normally produces antibodies that fight infections in the body. Individual B cells generally do not live long and typically make up a small fraction of white blood cells. However, in CLL, a single B cell abnormally begins to grow uncontrollably, resulting in a population of identical B cells, or a clonal expansion. This CLL clone grows and expands until it eventually makes up the majority of white blood cells. Because CLL is clonal, all the leukemic cells make the same antibody molecule.

Research by my lab and others have demonstrated that the characteristics of the unique antibody molecule found in individual CLL patients is key to understanding this disease. Furthermore, interfering with the signaling pathway downstream of this antibody in CLL cells leads to their elimination. While drugs that interfere with this pathway have provided some outstanding clinical responses in CLL, they have not proven to be curative. Therefore, my laboratory is undertaking further translational research into other mechanisms and cell types found in the leukemia microenvironment to aid in the treatment of CLL and other lymphoid malignancies.

Credentials

Education

1981
BA | University of Chicago
Biology

1988
PhD | University of California -- Berkeley
Genetics

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

09/1988 - 10/1996
Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Immunology with Dr. William E. Paul at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Publications

Journal Articles

12/1/2020
Zent CS, Pinney JJ, Chu CC, Elliott MR. "Complement Activation in the Treatment of B-Cell Malignancies." . 2020 Dec 1; 9(4)Epub 2020 Dec 01.

10/30/2020
Zent CS, Brady MT, Delage C, Strawderman M, Laniewski N, Contant PN, Kanagaiah P, Sangster MY, Barr PM, Chu CC, Topham DJ, Friedberg JW. "Short term results of vaccination with adjuvanted recombinant varicella zoster glycoprotein E during initial BTK inhibitor therapy for CLL or lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma." Leukemia.. 2020 Oct 30; Epub 2020 Oct 30.

6/17/2020
Pinney JJ, Rivera-Escalera F, Chu CC, Whitehead HE, VanDerMeid K, Nelson AM, Barbeau MC, Zent CS, Elliott MR. "Macrophage hypophagia as a mechanism of innate immune exhaustion in mAb-induced cell clearance." Blood.. 2020 Jun 17; Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Books & Chapters

2014
Chapter Title: Detection of de novo IGHV mutations by ultra-deep sequencing from in vitro activated B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells: Evidence for activation-induced deaminase function
Book Title: 15th International Congress of Immunology
Author List: Chu, C.C.; Patten, P.E.M.; MacCarthy, T.; Yan, X.-J.; Kolitz, J.E.; Allen, S.L.; Barrientos, J.C.; Rai, K.R; Chiorazzi,N.;
Published By: Medimond S.r.l., Monduzzi Editore 2014 in Bologna, Italy

2013
Chapter Title: B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/lymphoma
Book Title: Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas: Advanced Diagnostics and Personalized Therapies
Author List: Patten, P.E.M.; Chu, C.C.; Chiorazzi, N.;
Edited By: Carbone, A.; Younes, A.;
Published By: Future Medicine Ltd 2013 in London, UK

2007
Chapter Title: Plasma from a B-cell chronic lymphocytic patient with polycythemia vera contains viral and bacterial DNA
Book Title: 13th International Congress of Immunology
Author List: Chu, C.C.; Zhang, L.; Teichberg, S.; Allen, S.L.; Rai, K.R.; Chiorazzi, N.;
Edited By: Kalil, J.; Cunha-Neto, E.; Rizzo, L.V.;
Published By: Medimond S.r.l., Monduzzi Editore 2007 in Bologna, Italy

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