Bensinger Lab

Studying How Lipid Metabolism Affects Immunity

Members of the Bensinger Lab during an outing to a bowling alley stand under a neon sign that reads, "Let the good times roll."

About Our Lab

The Bensinger lab is focused on defining how lipid metabolism influences the ability of immune cells to function properly. Using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and molecular biology approaches, we have discovered that immune cells rapidly and profoundly reshape their lipid metabolic programs when they recognize foreign invaders. 

These changes to the lipid architecture of cells are essential for ensuring that invading microorganisms and viruses can be isolated and rapidly cleared from the body. In other instances, we are finding that changes to the lipid composition of immune cells is necessary to turn off the immune response and avoid unwanted inflammation. 

These findings have led us to ask if manipulating the lipid metabolic machinery of immune cells can help (i) boost immunity when required, such as in cancer immunotherapy, or (ii) shutdown the immune system in autoimmune diseases, such as in lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.


July 22, 2021: Congratulations to Kelly Kennewick for winning the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Studies. Read the HHMI news story.

Oct. 12, 2021: Congratulations to Gino and Kevin on the acceptance of their manuscript "A DMS Shotgun Lipidomics Workflow Application to Facilitate High-throughput, Comprehensive Lipidomics." Read the PubMed article.