Mohammad Rashidian, PhD

Mohammad Rashidian, PhD



Mohammad Rashidian, PhD

Mohammad Rashidian is a Member of the Faculty at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota, where he conducted his doctoral work in the Chemical Biology program. Dr. Rashidian completed his postdoctoral training at the Whitehead Institute/MIT and then Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where he was involved in developing a method to noninvasively image immune responses. During his postdoctoral work, he was supported by a Cancer Research Institute fellowship (2015-2017) and then an American Cancer Society fellowship (2018). Mohammad joined the DFCI and Harvard faculty in summer of 2019.



Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Recent Awards

  • Whitehead Institute Director’s Award
  • American Cancer Society fellow
  • Cancer Research Institute Irvington fellow
  • Outstanding student award


    Our lab studies cancer immunology and autoimmune disease using expertise in molecular biology, immunology and chemical biology.
       Our lab is focused in understanding the underlying mechanisms of how the tumor microenvironment is shaped and is changed in response to cancer immunotherapies. Furthermore, the lab aims to develop new and improved diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools to detect, diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer. Our research aims are fourfold: (1) to develop methods for non-invasive monitoring of immune responses; (2) to design and engineer novel CAR T cells; (3) to investigate changes in the tumor microenvironment (TME) in response to treatment; and (4) to explore how to reshape the TME to a more pronounced anti-tumor status and develop tools to realize this possibility. In the long term, our goals are to help better understand dynamics of immune responses, to investigate what is behind the heterogeneous response to cancer immunotherapy, and to help understand what causes an immunosuppressive or an anti-tumor TME. These are essential for developing more effective therapies, more effective methods for early detection of cancer, and new prognostic modalities.
       Having established robust methods of performing immuno-PET, our experiments have broken new ground and laid the groundwork for more sophisticated ways of exploring the TME. We can now predict, in the B16 melanoma model, the response to immunotherapy based on differences in distribution of CD8 T cells. We are now working to develop novel imaging platforms that enable monitoring dynamics of engineered antigen-specific T cells and CAR T cells. Developing such platforms is completely new, and if successful, would be a breakthrough on the application and assessment of adoptive cell therapy. In addition, to develop more effective therapies we aim to design novel CAR T cells and efficient scaffolds capable of targeting tumors and releasing immune modulating agents in the TME that are otherwise systemically toxic.

    Research Departments


      • Multiparametric Immunoimaging Maps Inflammatory Signatures in Murine Myocardial Infarction Models. JACC Basic Transl Sci. 2023 Jul; 8(7):801-816. View in: Pubmed

      • Enhanced Tumor Accumulation of Multimodal Magneto-Plasmonic Nanoparticles via an Implanted Micromagnet-Assisted Delivery Strategy. Adv Healthc Mater. 2023 01; 12(2):e2201585. View in: Pubmed

      • Enzymatic Construction of DARPin-Based Targeted Delivery Systems Using Protein Farnesyltransferase and a Capture and Release Strategy. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Sep 29; 23(19). View in: Pubmed

      • Probing immune infiltration dynamics in cancer by in vivo imaging. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2022 04; 67:102117. View in: Pubmed

      • Molecular Immune Targeted Imaging of Tumor Microenvironment. Nanotheranostics. 2022; 6(3):286-305. View in: Pubmed

      • Design and synthesis of gold nanostars-based SERS nanotags for bioimaging applications. Nanotheranostics. 2022; 6(1):10-30. View in: Pubmed

      • Direct N- or C-Terminal Protein Labeling Via a Sortase-Mediated Swapping Approach. Bioconjug Chem. 2021 11 17; 32(11):2397-2406. View in: Pubmed

      • Converting an Anti-Mouse CD4 Monoclonal Antibody into an scFv Positron Emission Tomography Imaging Agent for Longitudinal Monitoring of CD4+ T Cells. J Immunol. 2021 09 01; 207(5):1468-1477. View in: Pubmed

      • Pustular eruption after biosimilar rituximab infusion: report of acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis in two patients with pemphigus. Int J Dermatol. 2022 Jan; 61(1):e14-e17. View in: Pubmed

      • Nanobodies for Medical Imaging: About Ready for Prime Time? Biomolecules. 2021 04 26; 11(5). View in: Pubmed

      • Employing nanobodies for immune landscape profiling by PET imaging in mice. STAR Protoc. 2021 06 18; 2(2):100434. View in: Pubmed

      • HIV-infected macrophages resist efficient NK cell-mediated killing while preserving inflammatory cytokine responses. Cell Host Microbe. 2021 03 10; 29(3):435-447.e9. View in: Pubmed

      • Noninvasive Imaging of Cancer Immunotherapy. Nanotheranostics. 2021; 5(1):90-112. View in: Pubmed

      • Direct and Indirect Regulators of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition-Mediated Immunosuppression in Breast Carcinomas. Cancer Discov. 2021 05; 11(5):1286-1305. View in: Pubmed

      • Trained Immunity-Promoting Nanobiologic Therapy Suppresses Tumor Growth and Potentiates Checkpoint Inhibition. Cell. 2020 10 29; 183(3):786-801.e19. View in: Pubmed

      • In vivo detection of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells by immuno-positron emission tomography. Nat Methods. 2020 10; 17(10):1025-1032. View in: Pubmed

      • Treatment of pemphigus patients in the COVID-19 era: A specific focus on rituximab. Dermatol Ther. 2020 11; 33(6):e14188. View in: Pubmed

      • Nanobodies as non-invasive imaging tools. Immunooncol Technol. 2020 Sep; 7:2-14. View in: Pubmed

      • Lymphopenia during the COVID-19 infection: What it shows and what can be learned. Immunol Lett. 2020 09; 225:31-32. View in: Pubmed

      • Immuno-PET identifies the myeloid compartment as a key contributor to the outcome of the antitumor response under PD-1 blockade. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 08 20; 116(34):16971-16980. View in: Pubmed

      • Noninvasive imaging of tumor progression, metastasis, and fibrosis using a nanobody targeting the extracellular matrix. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 07 09; 116(28):14181-14190. View in: Pubmed

      • Nanobody-Antigen Conjugates Elicit HPV-Specific Antitumor Immune Responses. Cancer Immunol Res. 2018 07; 6(7):870-880. View in: Pubmed

      • Anti-CTLA-4 therapy requires an Fc domain for efficacy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 04 10; 115(15):3912-3917. View in: Pubmed

      • Targeting Cytokine Therapy to the Pancreatic Tumor Microenvironment Using PD-L1-Specific VHHs. Cancer Immunol Res. 2018 04; 6(4):389-401. View in: Pubmed

      • PD-L1 is an activation-independent marker of brown adipocytes. Nat Commun. 2017 09 21; 8(1):647. View in: Pubmed

      • Predicting the response to CTLA-4 blockade by longitudinal noninvasive monitoring of CD8 T cells. J Exp Med. 2017 Aug 07; 214(8):2243-2255. View in: Pubmed

      • Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition Contributes to Immunosuppression in Breast Carcinomas. Cancer Res. 2017 08 01; 77(15):3982-3989. View in: Pubmed

      • Noninvasive Imaging of Human Immune Responses in a Human Xenograft Model of Graft-Versus-Host Disease. J Nucl Med. 2017 06; 58(6):1003-1008. View in: Pubmed

      • Simultaneous Site-Specific Dual Protein Labeling Using Protein Prenyltransferases. Bioconjug Chem. 2015 Dec 16; 26(12):2542-53. View in: Pubmed

      • Enzyme-Mediated Modification of Single-Domain Antibodies for Imaging Modalities with Different Characteristics. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2016 Jan 11; 55(2):528-533. View in: Pubmed

      • The use of 18F-2-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) to label antibody fragments for immuno-PET of pancreatic cancer. ACS Cent Sci. 2015 Jun 24; 1(3):142-147. View in: Pubmed

      • Noninvasive imaging of immune responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 May 12; 112(19):6146-51. View in: Pubmed

      • Application of meta- and para-Phenylenediamine as Enhanced Oxime Ligation Catalysts for Protein Labeling, PEGylation, Immobilization, and Release. Curr Protoc Protein Sci. 2015 Feb 02; 79:15.4.1-15.4.28. View in: Pubmed

      • Simultaneous dual protein labeling using a triorthogonal reagent. J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Nov 06; 135(44):16388-96. View in: Pubmed

      • Enzymatic labeling of proteins: techniques and approaches. Bioconjug Chem. 2013 Aug 21; 24(8):1277-94. View in: Pubmed

      • A highly efficient catalyst for oxime ligation and hydrazone-oxime exchange suitable for bioconjugation. Bioconjug Chem. 2013 Mar 20; 24(3):333-42. View in: Pubmed

      • Chemoenzymatic site-specific reversible immobilization and labeling of proteins from crude cellular extract without prior purification using oxime and hydrazine ligation. Curr Protoc Chem Biol. 2013; 5(2):89-109. View in: Pubmed

      • Chemoenzymatic reversible immobilization and labeling of proteins without prior purification. J Am Chem Soc. 2012 May 23; 134(20):8455-67. View in: Pubmed

      • Selective labeling of polypeptides using protein farnesyltransferase via rapid oxime ligation. Chem Commun (Camb). 2010 Dec 21; 46(47):8998-9000. View in: Pubmed

      • Evaluation of alkyne-modified isoprenoids as chemical reporters of protein prenylation. Chem Biol Drug Des. 2010 Dec; 76(6):460-71. View in: Pubmed

      • Comparison of thermochemistry of aspartame (artificial sweetener) and glucose. Carbohydr Res. 2009 Jan 05; 344(1):127-33. View in: Pubmed


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