My research interest is to understand how human dendritic cell (DC) subsets control immunity and tolerance. Particularly, I am very interested in dissecting how this major immunological axis (i.e., the DC network) contributes to control disease development. I am also interested in developing strategies to harness this immunological axis for the rational design of treatments.

Honors & Awards

  • Honors in Masters degree, National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico (2010)
  • Honors in PhD degree, National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico (2014)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, CONACyT (2014)
  • Stanford Dean's Fellowship, Stanford University (2016)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Instituto Politecnico Nacional (2014)
  • Master of Science, Instituto Politecnico Nacional (2010)
  • Bachelor of Science, Universidad La Salle (2008)

Stanford Advisors

Lab Affiliations

All Publications

  • Vaccination-induced skin-resident memory CD8(+) T cells mediate strong protection against cutaneous melanoma ONCOIMMUNOLOGY Galvez-Cancino, F., Lopez, E., Menares, E., Diaz, X., Flores, C., Caceres, P., Hidalgo, S., Chovar, O., Alcantara-Hernandez, M., Borgna, V., Varas-Godoy, M., Salazar-Onfray, F., Idoyaga, J., Lladser, A. 2018; 7 (7): e1442163


    Memory CD8+ T cell responses have the potential to mediate long-lasting protection against cancers. Resident memory CD8+ T (Trm) cells stably reside in non-lymphoid tissues and mediate superior innate and adaptive immunity against pathogens. Emerging evidence indicates that Trm cells develop in human solid cancers and play a key role in controlling tumor growth. However, the specific contribution of Trm cells to anti-tumor immunity is incompletely understood. Moreover, clinically applicable vaccination strategies that efficiently establish Trm cell responses remain largely unexplored and are expected to strongly protect against tumors. Here we demonstrated that a single intradermal administration of gene- or protein-based vaccines efficiently induces specific Trm cell responses against models of tumor-specific and self-antigens, which accumulated in vaccinated and distant non-vaccinated skin. Vaccination-induced Trm cells were largely resistant to in vivo intravascular staining and antibody-dependent depletion. Intradermal, but not intraperitoneal vaccination, generated memory precursors expressing skin-homing molecules in circulation and Trm cells in skin. Interestingly, vaccination-induced Trm cell responses strongly suppressed the growth of B16F10 melanoma, independently of circulating memory CD8+ T cells, and were able to infiltrate tumors. This work highlights the therapeutic potential of vaccination-induced Trm cell responses to achieve potent protection against skin malignancies.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/2162402X.2018.1442163

    View details for Web of Science ID 000433549100012

    View details for PubMedID 29900048

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5993487

  • High-Dimensional Phenotypic Mapping of Human Dendritic Cells Reveals Interindividual Variation and Tissue Specialization. Immunity Alcántara-Hernández, M., Leylek, R., Wagar, L. E., Engleman, E. G., Keler, T., Marinkovich, M. P., Davis, M. M., Nolan, G. P., Idoyaga, J. 2017


    Given the limited efficacy of clinical approaches that rely on ex vivo generated dendritic cells (DCs), it is imperative to design strategies that harness specialized DC subsets in situ. This requires delineating the expression of surface markers by DC subsets among individuals and tissues. Here, we performed a multiparametric phenotypic characterization and unbiased analysis of human DC subsets in blood, tonsil, spleen, and skin. We uncovered previously unreported phenotypic heterogeneity of human cDC2s among individuals, including variable expression of functional receptors such as CD172a. We found marked differences in DC subsets localized in blood and lymphoid tissues versus skin, and a striking absence of the newly discovered Axl+ DCs in the skin. Finally, we evaluated the capacity of anti-receptor monoclonal antibodies to deliver vaccine components to skin DC subsets. These results offer a promising path for developing DC subset-specific immunotherapies that cannot be provided by transcriptomic analysis alone.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.11.001

    View details for PubMedID 29221729

  • Overexpression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha impacts FoxP3 levels in mycosis fungoides-Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma: Clinical implications INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CANCER Alcantara-Hernandez, M., Torres-Zarate, C., Perez-Montesinos, G., Jurado-SantaCruz, F., Dominguez-Gomez, M. A., Peniche-Castellanos, A., Ferat-Osorio, E., Neri, N., Nambo, M. J., Alvarado-Cabrero, I., Moreno-Lafont, M., Huerta-Yepez, S., Bonifaz, L. C. 2014; 134 (9): 2136-2145


    Mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most common variant of primary cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and decreased forkhead box P3 (FoxP3) expression has been reported in MF late stages. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) may regulate FoxP3 expression; however, it is unknown whether HIF-1α is expressed in the CD4(+) T cells of MF patients and how it could affect the expression of FoxP3. Therefore, we evaluated the expression of HIF-1α and FoxP3 in CD4(+) T cells obtained from the skin lesions of MF patients. We found increased cell proliferation and an increase in CD4(+) T cells with an aberrant phenotype among early stage MF patients. HIF-1α was overexpressed in these CD4(+) T cells. In addition, we found a decrease in the percentage of FoxP3(+) cells both in the skin of MF patients, when compared with control skin samples, and with disease progression. In addition, a negative correlation was established between HIF-1α and FoxP3 expression. Skin HIF-1α expression in MF patients correlated with the extent of the affected area and increased with the disease progression. Finally, we showed that ex vivo inhibition of HIF-1α degradation increases the percentage of FoxP3(+) T cells in skin lesions. Our results suggest that overexpression of HIF-1α affects the levels of FoxP3 in MF patients, which could have relevant implications in terms of disease outcome.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ijc.28546

    View details for Web of Science ID 000331006600010

    View details for PubMedID 24127318

  • Helminth-excreted/secreted products are recognized by multiple receptors on DCs to block the TLR response and bias Th2 polarization in a cRAF dependent pathway FASEB JOURNAL Terrazas, C. A., Alcantara-Hernandez, M., Bonifaz, L., Terrazas, L. I., Satoskar, A. R. 2013; 27 (11): 4547-4560


    Dendritic cells (DCs) recognize pathogens and initiate the T-cell response. The DC-helminth interaction induces an immature phenotype in DCs; as a result, these DCs display impaired responses to TLR stimulation and prime Th2-type responses. However, the DC receptors and intracellular pathways targeted by helminth molecules and their importance in the initiation of the Th2 response are poorly understood. In this report, we found that products excreted/secreted by Taenia crassiceps (TcES) triggered cRAF phosphorylation through MGL, MR, and TLR2. TcES interfered with the LPS-induced NFκB p65 and p38 MAPK signaling pathways. In addition, TcES-induced cRAF signaling pathway was critical for down-regulation of the TLR-mediated DC maturation and secretion of IL-12 and TNF-α. Finally, we show for the first time that blocking cRAF in DCs abolishes their ability to induce Th2 polarization in vitro after TcES exposure. Our data demonstrate a new mechanism by which helminths target intracellular pathways to block DC maturation and efficiently program Th2 polarization.

    View details for DOI 10.1096/fj.13-228932

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329937500021

    View details for PubMedID 23907435

  • Pathogenic CCR6+ dendritic cells in the skin lesions of discoid lupus patients: a role for damage-associated molecular patterns EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF DERMATOLOGY Mendez-Reguera, A., Perez-Montesinos, G., Alcantara-Hernandez, M., Martinez-Estrada, V., Rafael Cazarin-Barrientos, J., Rojas-Espinosa, O., Jurado-Santacruz, F., Huerta-Yepez, S., Bonifaz-Alfonzo, L. 2013; 23 (2): 169-182


    Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) is a cutaneous autoimmune inflammatory disease in which the role of conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) in skin damage has not been evaluated.To evaluate the involvement of cDCs in DLE pathogenesis.Skin biopsies from 42 patients with DLE were embedded in paraffin or placed in culture. The dermis was separated and cell suspensions were characterized by flow cytometry.We found an increase in cDCs with inflammatory characteristics in the skin of DLE patients, compared with control skins. Interestingly, cDCs from the DLE patients expressed low levels of the inhibitory molecule PD-L1 and showed a high expression of CCR6, which correlated with disease activity. Increased cellular death was observed in the skin of DLE patients compared with control skin and remarkably we found that damage-associated molecular patterns could be responsible for CCR6 expression on cDCs in the skin.Our results indicate the presence of pathogenic CCR6+ cDCs in the skin lesions of DLE patients, which could result from in situ phenotypic changes.

    View details for DOI 10.1684/ejd.2013.1970

    View details for Web of Science ID 000319638600006

    View details for PubMedID 23587834

  • A Toll/IL-1R/resistance domain-containing thioredoxin regulates phagocytosis in Entamoeba histolytica PARASITES & VECTORS Mancilla-Herrera, I., Mendez-Tenorio, A., Wong-Baeza, I., Jimenez-Uribe, A. P., Alcantara-Hernandez, M., Ocadiz-Ruiz, R., Moreno-Eutimio, M. A., Arriaga-Pizano, L. A., Lopez-Macias, C., Gonzalez-y-Merchand, J., Isibasi, A. 2012; 5


    Entamoeba histolytica is a protozoan parasite that infects humans and causes amebiasis affecting developing countries. Phagocytosis of epithelial cells, erythrocytes, leucocytes, and commensal microbiota bacteria is a major pathogenic mechanism used by this parasite. A Toll/IL-1R/Resistance (TIR) domain-containing protein is required in phagocytosis in the social ameba Dictyostelium discoideum, an ameba closely related to Entamoeba histolytica in phylogeny. In insects and vertebrates, TIR domain-containing proteins regulate phagocytic and cell activation. Therefore, we investigated whether E. histolytica expresses TIR domain-containing molecules that may be involved in the phagocytosis of erythrocytes and bacteria.Using in silico analysis we explored in Entamoeba histolytica databases for TIR domain containing sequences. After silencing TIR domain containing sequences in trophozoites by siRNA we evaluated phagocytosis of erythrocytes and bacteria.We identified an E. histolytica thioredoxin containing a TIR-like domain. The secondary and tertiary structure of this sequence exhibited structural similarity to TIR domain family. Thioredoxin transcripts silenced in E. histolytica trophozoites decreased erythrocytes and E. coli phagocytosis.TIR domain-containing thioredoxin of E. histolytica could be an important element in erythrocytes and bacteria phagocytosis.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/1756-3305-5-224

    View details for Web of Science ID 000310461000002

    View details for PubMedID 23043976

  • The Role of Lipopeptidophosphoglycan in the Immune Response to Entamoeba histolytica JOURNAL OF BIOMEDICINE AND BIOTECHNOLOGY Wong-Baeza, I., Alcantara-Hernandez, M., Mancilla-Herrera, I., Ramirez-Saldivar, I., Arriaga-Pizano, L., Ferat-Osorio, E., Lopez-Macias, C., Isibasi, A. 2010


    The sensing of Pathogen Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPs) by innate immune receptors, such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs), is the first step in the inflammatory response to pathogens. Entamoeba histolytica, the etiological agent of amebiasis, has a surface molecule with the characteristics of a PAMP. This molecule, which was termed lipopeptidophosphoglycan (LPPG), is recognized through TLR2 and TLR4 and leads to the release of cytokines from human monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells; LPPG-activated dendritic cells have increased expression of costimulatory molecules. LPPG activates NKT cells in a CD1d-dependent manner, and this interaction limits amebic liver abscess development. LPPG also induces antibody production, and anti-LPPG antibodies prevent disease development in animal models of amebiasis. Because LPPG is recognized by both the innate and the adaptive immune system (it is a "Pamptigen"), it may be a good candidate to develop a vaccine against E. histolytica infection and an effective adjuvant.

    View details for DOI 10.1155/2010/254521

    View details for Web of Science ID 000275079500001

    View details for PubMedID 20145703