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Lenette Lu, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine and Immunology - Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine
  • Disease-Oriented Clinical Scholars (DOCS) Program
"Make things work no matter what happens, and always try to leave things in a better place now than how they came.”

Contributions to STEMM

Dr. Lu is an infectious diseases physician-scientist. In the Lu laboratory, “I spend most of my time investigating how antibodies, a critical and intrinsic part of our response to fight off microbes, function in the context of infectious diseases and vaccines,” she said. “In addition to conducting experiments, I take care of patients with infectious diseases in the hospital and clinic. My clinical expertise and basic science training position me to translate observations grounded in human immunology to generate and test hypotheses in models of disease to inform and direct further human studies. My long-term goal is to expand the framework of antibodies in infectious diseases to be leveraged in future vaccine design, diagnostics, and therapeutics.”

Early Influences

“I am a product of my parents and grandparents, all of whom valued independence and education for everyone including women.”

Dr. Lu said of her family’s influence on her career in medicine, “My grandmother was a tumor surgeon who met my grandfather, a radiologist, in New York during her training in the 1940s. Together, they brought techniques back to China after World War II, which they practiced until the Cultural Revolution, which demanded that they take up the more proletarian occupation of janitor.”

“In the context of the anti-intellectual populist movements of the 1960s-1970s that limited education to high school level, my mother worked in a textile factory and my father in a chemical factory,” Dr. Lu said. Despite these challenges, her parents persevered and immigrated to the U.S. in search of a better life. “My mother, followed four years later by my father, immigrated and settled as research technicians in search of the wealth of educational opportunities offered by the opening of formal relations between America and China in the 1970s.”

These experiences paved the way for Dr. Lu’s career in STEMM. She credits “both the women and men in my family,” for influencing “my appreciation for science, medicine, and engineering. More importantly, they have taught me how to make things work no matter what happens, and to always try to leave things in a better place now than how they came.”

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