Research & Publications
John Tsang is a systems immunologist, computational biologist, and engineer. Tsang earned his PhD in biophysics and systems biology from Harvard University (2008) and trained in computer engineering (BASc) and computer science (MMath) at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is currently Professor of Immunobiology and Biomedical Engineering at Yale University and the Founding Director of the Yale Center for Systems and Engineering Immunology (CSEI). The CSEI serves as a home and cross-departmental center of research for systems, quantitative, and synthetic immunology at Yale.
Dr. Tsang's group investigates why immune system statuses and responses to perturbations (e.g., to SARS-CoV-2 infections) are highly variable across individuals in the human population, i.e., the molecular and cellular underpinnings of human immune variations in health and disease. Their approach involves the development and application of computational, quantitative modeling, and experimental methods, including high-dimensional, longitudinal immune monitoring of human cohorts throughout the lifespan and around the globe, machine learning, dynamical modeling, and ex vivo experiments and animal models.
As a scientific conceiver and leader of CZ Biohub NY, Dr. Tsang is interested in developing a predictive immune cell engineering toolkit to program immune cells as sensors of tissue statuses (e.g., early detection of pre-clinical disease and inflammation). Towards achieving this vision, he and his colleagues are working on quantitatively dissecting the mechanisms and design principles of tissue-blood communications and immune cell trafficking, including cell-cell interaction and signal integration by immune cells in tissues.
He has won multiple awards for his research, including NIH/NIAID Merit Awards recognizing his scientific leadership in systems immunology, COVID-19, and human immunology research. His work on mapping human immune variations and predicting vaccination responses was selected as a Top NIAID Research Advance of 2014. Dr. Tsang has served as an advisor on systems immunology and computational biology for numerous programs and organizations, including the Allen Institute, World Allergy Organization, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of PLOS Biology and the Scientific Advisory Board of NIAID ImmPort, the NIAID Influenza IMPRINT Program, the NIH Common Fund Cellular Senescence Network (SenNet), Vaccine and Immunology Statistical Center of the Gates Foundation, the Human Immunome Project, and CytoReason Ltd. He has lectured at many meetings and academic institutions and was lead organizer of major scientific conferences, including Keystone and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory meetings.
Prior to joining Yale, Dr. Tsang was a tenured Senior Investigator in the National Institutes of Health's Intramural Research Program and led a laboratory focusing on systems and quantitative immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He was the Co-Director of the Trans-NIH Center for Human Immunology (CHI) and led its research program in systems human immunology. He remains an Adjunct Investigator at NIAID.
Education & Training
- PhDHarvard University, Biophysics/Systems Biology
- MMathUniversity of Waterloo, Computer Science
- BScUniversity of Waterloo, Computer Engineering