A cancer biology lab of the IBB department at POSTECH, the Tumor Microenvironment Laboratory aims to discover novel therapeutic approaches to anti-cancer immunity by targeting the interplay between the tumor microenvironment and immune cells. 

Pohang University of Science and Technology is the premier institution for the sciences in South Korea. 
The Integrative Biosciences and Biotechnology department at POSTECH promotes in-depth high-impact research in the life sciences. 
BK21Plus of the Korean Research Foundation is one of the major funding programs that advances scientific research in South Korea.

Our Team

The greatest asset of our laboratory is our team of talented researchers.
These are the scientists who are exploring the frontiers of cancer biology.

G-One Ahn, Ph.D

Principal Investigator

More Details

Young-Eun Kim

7th year MS-PhD student

Role of macrophages in obesity, Tumor metastasis

Hoi-Bin Jeong

5th year MS-PhD student

Role of Tumor Associated Macrophages in hypoxia

Jung-Min Oh

2nd year MS-PhD Student

Effects of FLASH irradiation in tumor radiotherapy.

Seung-Hee Gwak

1st year MS-PhD Student

Effects of FLASH irradiation on tumor metastasis

Hyung-Seok Choi

1st year MS-PhD Student

CRISPR/Cas9 cancer immunotherapy

Ami-Marie Coulibaly

1st year PhD student

Tumor metastasis, Dendritic cells in cancer STING pathway

John Park

1st year MS-PhD Student

Role of VHL/HIF in cancer cachexia, CRISPR/Cas9 cancer immunotherapy

Rumeysa Dogan

1st year MS-PhD Student

Role of DNA repair enzymes in the STING pathway

Research Areas

Tumor Hypoxia


Proliferation of tumor cells causes expansion of the tumor volume, resulting in regions starved of oxygen and nutrients from the blood vessels. This low oxygen tension, or hypoxia, creates a unique tumor-specific microenvironment. Hypoxic microenvironments confer tumor cells resistant to chemo- and radiotherapy due to the limited diffusion of drugs or ineffective reach of ionizing radiation to the tumor cells. We investigate the role of macrophages in sensing hypoxia through the hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), a master regulator of many downstream genes involved in cellular adaptation to hypoxia, and what effects it has on tumor growth and progression.

Radiation Therapy


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cGAS-STING Pathway

The cyclic GMP-AMP Synthase – Stimulator of Interferon Genes (cGAS-STING) pathway is a prominent immune mechanism of dendritic cells in cancer. Chemo- radiotherapy induces DNA damage in tumor cells, which can be detected by dendritic cells through the cGAS-STING pathway to secrete interferon genes and ultimately mount an immune response. STING is an exciting immunotherapy subject in modern cancer biology and can forerun how immune modifications can be coordinated with conventional cancer therapy. 

Cancer Cachexia

Cachexia is a clinical condition of severe weight loss that is induced by chronic illnesses such as cancer. It is mainly due to the metabolic changes in the muscle, fat, and bone tissues that are correlated with the disease advancement. Cancer cachexia prevents cancer treatment options for late stage cancer patients and impede upon recovery, hence posing as a grave and significant disease process. Our research in this developing field focuses on the mechanisms of cachexia development and the various biological treatment strategies. 


2018 | Radiation Research

Computational Modeling and Clonogenic Assay for Radioenhancement of Gold Nanoparticles Using 3D Live Cell Images

Sung W, Jeong Y, Kim H, Jeong H, Grassberger C, Jung S, Ahn GO, Kim IH, Schuemann J, Lee K, and Ye SJ.


2018 | Disease Models & Mech.

Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) activation in myeloid cells accelerates DSS-induced colitis progression in mice

Kim YE, Lee M, Gu H, Kim J, Jeong S, Yeo S, Lee YJ, Im SH, Sung YC, Kim HJ, Weissman IL and Ahn GO.


2018 | RSC Advances

Supramolecular hydrogels encapsulating bioengineered mesenchymal stem cells for ischemic therapy

Hwang BW, Kim YE, Kim M, Han S, Bok S, Park KM, Shrinidhi A, Kim KS, Ahn GO and Hahn SK. 


2018 | Radiation Protection & Res.

Effects of Tumor Microenvironmental Factors on DNA Methylation and Radiation Sensitivity in A549 Human Lung Adenocarcinoma

Oh JM, Kim YE, Hong BJ, Bok S, Jeon SU, Lee CJ, Park DY, Kim IH, Kim HJ and Ahn GO. 


2017 | Oncotarget

Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α regulates microglial functions affecting neuronal survival in the acute phase of ischemic stroke in mice

Bok S, Kim YE, Woo Y, Kim S, Kang SJ, Lee Y, Park SK, Weissman IL and Ahn GO. 


2017 | Bioconjugate Chemistry

Hyaluronate-Peanut Agglutinin Conjugates for Target-Specific Bioimaging of Colon Cancer

Beack S, Cho M, Kim YE, Ahn GO and Hahn SK. 


2016 | Radiation Oncology Journal

Tumor hypoxia and reoxygenation: the yin and yang for radiotherapy

Hong BJ, Kim J, Jeong H, Bok S, KimYE and Ahn GO. 


2016 | Blood Research

Radiation-induced immune responses: mechanisms and therapeutic perspectives

Jeong H, Bok S, Hong BJ, Choi HS and Ahn GO. 


2016 | Biomacromolecules

Hyaluronate-Death Receptor 5 Antibody Conjugates for Targeted Treatment of Liver Metastasis

Lee H, Hong BJ, Lee JH, Yeo S, Jung HY, Chung J, Ahn GO, and Hahn SK. 


2016 | Scientific Reports

Moxifloxacin: Clinically compatible contrast agent for multiphoton imaging

Wang T, Jang WH, Lee S, Yoon CJ, Lee JH, Kim B, Hwang S, Hong CP, Yoon Y, Lee G, Le VH, Bok S, Ahn GO, Lee J, Gho YS, Chung E, Kim S, Jang MH, Myung SJ, Kim MJ, So PTC and Kim KH. 


2016 | Int J of Radiation Oncology

Radiation-induced esophagitis in vivo and in vitro reveals that epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a potential candidate for therapeutic intervention strategy

Kim KS, Jeon SU, Lee CJ, Kim YE, Bok S, Hong BJ, Park DY, Ahn GO and Kim HJ. 


2016 | Int J of Radiation Oncology

Real-time tumor oxygenation changes following a single high dose radiotherapy in orthotopic and subcutaneous lung cancers in mice: clinical implication for stereotactic ablative radiotherapy schedule optimization

Song C, Hong BJ, Bok S, Lee CJ, Kim YE, Jeon SR, Wu HG, Lee YS, Cheon GJ, Paeng JC, Carlson DJ, Kim HJ and Ahn GO. 


2015 | Biomedical Optics Express

In vivo imaging of activated microglia in a mouse model of focal cerebral ischemia by two-photon microscopy

Bok S, Wang T, Lee CJ, Jeon SU, Kim YE, Kim J, Hong BJ, Yoon CJ, Kim S, Lee SH, Kim HJ, Kim IH, Kim KH, and Ahn GO. 


2015 | Adv Healthcare Materials

Microneedle Biosensor for Real-Time Electrical Detection of Nitric Oxide for In Situ Cancer Diagnosis During Endomicroscopy

Keum DH, Jung HS, Wang T, Shin MH, Kim YE, Kim KH, Ahn GO and Hahn SK. 


2014 | Optics Express

Gradient index lens based combined two-photon microscopy and optical coherence tomography

Wang T, Li Q, Xiao P, Ahn J, Kim YE, Park Y, Kim M, Song M, Chung E, Chung WK, Ahn GO, Kim S, Kim P, Myung SJ and Kim KH. 


2014 | Molec Imaging & Biology

The Relationship Between Serial [(18) F]PBR06 PET Imaging of Microglial Activation and Motor Function Following Stroke in Mice.

Lartey FM, Ahn GO, Ali R, Rosenblum S, Miao Z, Arksey N, Shen B, Colomer MV, Rafat M, Liu H, Alejandre-Alcazar MA, Chen JW, Palmer T, Chin FT, Guzman R, Loo BW Jr and Graves E. 


2014 | PNAS

Transcriptional activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) in myeloid cells promotes angiogenesis through VEGF and S100A8

Ahn GO, Seita J, Hong BJ, Kim YE, Bok S, Lee CJ, Kim KS, Lee J, Leeper NJ, Cooke JP, Kim HJ, Kim IH, Weissman IL and Brown JM. 


2014 | Molec Imaging & Biology

PET Imaging of Stroke-Induced Neuroinflammation inMice Using [18F]PBR06.

Lartey FM, Ahn GO, Shen B, Cord KT, Smith T, Chua JY, Rosenblum S, Liu H, James ML, Chernikiva S, Lee SW, Pisani LJ, Tirouvanziam R, Chen JW, Palmer TD, Chin FT, Guzman R, Graves EE, Loo BW Jr and Seita J. 


2013 | Artio, Thromb, & Vasc Bio

Loss of CDKN2B promotes p53-dependent smooth muscle cell apoptosis and aneurysm formation.

Leeper NJ, Raiesdana A, Kundu RK, Cheng H, Maegdefessel L, Toh R, Ahn GO, Ali ZA, Anderson DR, Miller CL, Roberts SC, Spin JM, Almeida PE, Wu JC, Xu B, Cheng K, Quertermous M, Kundu S, Kortekaas KE, Berzin E, Downing KP, Dalman RL, Tsao PS, Schadt EE, Owens GK and Quertermous T. 


2010 | PNAS

Inhibition of Mac-1 (CD11b/CD18) enhances tumor response to radiation by reducing myeloid cell recruitment

Ahn GO, Tseng D, Liao CH, Dorie MJ, CzechowiczM, Brown JM. 


2009 | J of Medicinal Chemistry

Synthesis and evaluation of stable bidentate metal complexes of 1-(chloromethyl)-5-hydroxy-3-(5,6,7-trimethoxyindol-2-ylcarbonyl)-2,3-dihydro-1H-pyrrolo[3,2-f]quinoline (seco-6-azaCBI-TMI) as hypoxia selective cytotoxins

Milbank JBJ, Stevenson RJ, Ware DC, Chang JYC, Tercel M, Ahn GO, Wilson WR and Denny WA. 


2009 | Cell Cycle

Influence of bone marrow-derived hematopoietic cells on the tumor response to radiotherapy: Experimental models and clinical perspectives.

Ahn GO and Brown JM. 


2009 | Angiogenesis

Role of endothelial progenitor cells and other bone marrow-derived cells in the development of the tumor vasculature.

Ahn GO and Brown JM. 


2008 | Cancer Cell

Matrix metalloproteinase-9 is required for tumor vasculogenesis but not angiogenesis: Role of bone marrow-derived myelomonocytic cells.

Ahn GO and Brown JM.


2008 | Cancer Research

Optimized Clostridia-directed enzyme prodrug therapy improves the antitumor activity of the novel DNA-cross-linking agent PR-104.

Liu SC, Ahn GO, Kioi M, Dorie MJ, Patterson AV and Brown JM. 


2007 | Frontiers in Bioscience

Targeting tumors with hypoxia-activated cytotoxins.

Ahn GO and Brown JM. 


2006 | Biochemical Pharmacology

Radiolytic and cellular reduction of a novel hypoxia-activated cobalt(III) prodrug of a chloromethylbenzindoline DNA minor groove alkylator

Ahn GO, Botting KJ, Patterson AV, Ware DC, Tercel M and Wilson WR. 


2004 | Radiation Research

Optimization of the Auxiliary Ligand Shell of Cobalt(III)(8-hydroxyquinoline) Complexes as Model Hypoxia-Selective Radiation-Activated Prodrugs

Ahn GO, Ware DC, Denny WA, and Wilson WR


We are seeking highly motivated students and researchers.
If you are interested in our research and want to join our team, please contact us!

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