Joel Crespo

Immunology Program Graduate Student Candidate


Joel Crespo graduated from the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras with a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. As an undergrad, he carried out research into the effects of recombinant protein Fasciola hepatica 15 as a possible vaccine against the liver fluke, the involvement of Rac-1 signaling in the PKCα and PKCδ pathways on pulmonary endothelium, as well as the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines on chemokine expression by tumors. He is currently studying the functional differences of naïve T cells and the underlying epigenetic networks regulating T cell responses under Dr. Weiping Zou.

Research Interests

Joel’s research efforts are directed at understanding the functional heterogeneity of human naïve T cells, specifically their ability to express specific pro-inflammatory cytokine and how it may be regulated by micro-RNAs. He is also engaged in understanding the underlying epigenetic networks regulated by histone modifying enzyme in mouse T cells.



Miller Fund Research Supplementary Award


Joel Crespo, Ilona Kryczek, Weiping Zou.“Functional heterogeneity of human naïve T cells” Immunology Program Retreat, Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center in Toledo, Ohio, May 2014. Poster Awarded.

Joel Crespo, Ilona Kryczek, Weiping Zou. “Functional heterogeneity of human naïve T cells” Moses Gunn Research Conference, University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, Michigan, April 2014.


Guirnalda P, Wood L, Goenka R, Crespo J, Paterson P. 2013. Expression of CXCL9/Mig in tumors is induced by IFNγ and regulates T cell subset distribution following immunotherapy with Listeria monocytogenes. Oncoimmunology 2:e25752

Crespo J, Sun H, Welling TH, Tian Z, Zou W. 2013. T cell anergy, exhaustion, senescence, and stemness in the tumor microenvironment. Curr Opin Immunol 25: 214-21

Crespo J, Z, Zou W. 2014. T cell fate in the tumor microenvironment. Developments in T Cell Based Cancer Immunotherapies

Immunology Mentor