Chronic diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and cancers that evade the immune system continue to impact the lives of millions of patients worldwide causing high morbidity and mortality as well as significant economic burden. It is now evident that in these chronic diseases the development of dysfunctional or exhausted T cells contributes to their disease. It is significant that immune inhibitory pathways in T cells are shared across multiple pathogen types and species including murine, monkey, and humans. Therapeutic success targeting these inhibitory checkpoints using blocking antibodies can reinvigorate T cells and improve pathogen and tumor control in mice and patients.

These drugs are now standard treatment for cancer, but at present are only effective in a subset of patients, highlighting the need to identify additional inhibitory pathways that can be targeted to improve patient outcomes. We identified a new inhibitory checkpoint that promoted T cell exhaustion during chronic viral infection and during melanoma tumor development. Our long-term goal is to understand fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms of T cell dysfunction. The rationale is that once we fully understanding these inhibitory pathways, we can develop effective therapeutics to reinvigorate the immune system and help more patients suffering from these diseases.




Dr. Roberto Tinoco

Dr. Tinoco is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Irvine, School of Biological Sciences, in the department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. He is a member of the UCI Institute for Immunology, the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (CFCCC), the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), and the Center for Virus Research (CVR).


Monique Henriquez

Monique joined the Tinoco lab in fall of 2018 as the Laboratory Manager. She is responsible for managing the mouse colony, performing in-vivo experiments, training incoming students, and overall making sure the lab runs smoothly.

Emily Neubert

Emily Neubert

Emily Neubert joined the Tinoco lab as a Ph.D. student in 2019. Currently, she is working on T-cell responses to acute and chronic viral infections, using in-vivo models and A LOT of flow cytometry.


Julia DeRogatis

Julia DeRogatis joined the Tinoco lab as a Ph.D. student in 2019 and has been working on the study of immune checkpoints in a melanoma tumor model. Julia works with in-vivo models and has learned the powerful tool of flow cytometry.

Karla Viramontes

Karla Viramontes

Karla Viramontes joined the Tinoco lab as a Ph.D student in 2020. Her project includes the use of in-vivo melanoma tumor mouse models to study immune checkpoints and its effects on T cell exhaustion.

Located in

McGaugh Hall


There are plenty of things happening in the Tinoco Lab, here are a few highlights not to be missed.

Karla is awarded NIH IMSD training grant!

2020 Karla is awarded a NIH, Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) T32 training grant!

Emily is awarded T32 training grant!

2020 Emily is awarded a Center for Virus Research National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) T32 trainee fellowship.

Dr. Tinoco awarded grant from NIH/NIA!

2020 Dr. Tinoco is awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute for Aging (NIA).

Contact us

Roberto Tinoco:
3244 McGaugh Hall
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone: 949-824-4926

Tinoco Lab:
3421 McGaugh Hall
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone: 949-824-3215


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