Department of Immunology

Mark Headley, PhD


Dr. Mark B. Headley earned his Bachelors of Science and Masters in Biology from Boise State University before completing his PhD in  Immunology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2010. In 2018, Dr. Headley joined Fred Hutch as an Assistant Member, in the Clinical Research Division. Dr. Headley joined the Department of Immunology as an Affiliate Assistant Professor in 2020.


Phone: 206.667.3619
Fax: 206.667.2917
Address: 1100 Fairview Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Mail Stop: D4-100


Myeloid Cell Biology, Tumor Immunology,
Metastasis, Lung Biology, Intravital Microscopy


Sophia T. Liang, Research Technician,
Daniel R. Tolstrup, Research Technician,


Lab Website


Mark Headley on PubMed


Dr. Mark Headley studies the cellular and molecular dynamics that underlie tumor metastasis, the spread of cancer cells from a primary tumor to distant organs. His lab focuses on understanding how interactions between tumor and immune cells promote or defend against metastasis. Dr. Headley is especially interested in understanding lung cancer metastasis. He has developed a suite of cutting-edge tools to enable these studies. His lab uses advanced microscopes and surgical techniques to directly visualize, in real time, tumor cells and immune cells in live lungs. These tools enable the study of the unique lung environment during tumor metastasis with unprecedented detail by pairing this unique microscopy approach with high-resolution, single-cell profiling.

We have recently identified a unique process by which burgeoning metastatic cells shed large cytoplasmic particles from the earliest moments of metastasis. These particles, known as cytoplasts or microparticles, form a platform for engaging a particular class of immune cells called myeloid cells. Notably, during the first hours of metastasis, particular myeloid cells with protumoral properties (macrophages) versus anti-tumoral properties (dendritic cells and patrolling monocytes) encounter and ingest the tumor-derived particles. We are seeking to understand how this particular facet of immune-tumor engagement defines anti-tumor immune responses and patient outcomes. We currently have projects exploring how innate immune cells detect and respond to encounter with tumor antigen, how anti-metastatic dendritic cells capture tumor antigen and the mechanisms by which they restrict lung metastasis. We are also broadly interested in myeloid cell plasticity and differentiation.


  1. Ortiz-Munoz G, Mallavia B, Bins A, Headley M, Krummel MF, Looney MR. Aspirin-triggered 15-epi-lipoxin A4 regulates neutrophil-platelet aggregation and attenuates acute lung injury in mice. Blood. Oct 2014. Vol 124(17). pp. 2625-34. doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-03-562876. PMID: 25143486 [original work]
  2. *Headley MB, Bins A, Nip A, Roberts EW, Looney MR, Gerard A, Krummel MF. Visualization of immediate immune responses to pioneer metastatic cells in the lung. Nature. 2016 Mar 24;531(7595):513-7. doi: 10.1038/nature16985. Epub 2016 Mar 16.
    PMID: 26982733 [original work]
  3. Roberts EW, Broz ML, Binnewies M, Headley MB, Nelson AE, Wolf DM, Kaisho T, Bogunovic D, Bhardwaj N, Krummel MF. Critical Role for CD103(+)/CD141(+) Dendritic Cells Bearing CCR7 for Tumor Antigen Trafficking and Priming of T Cell Immunity in Melanoma. Cancer Cell. 2016 Aug 8;30(2):324-36. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2016.06.003. Epub 2016 Jul 14. PMID: 27424807 [original work]
  4. Lefrançais E, Ortiz-Muñoz G, Caudrillier A, Mallavia B, Liu F, Sayah DM, Thornton EE, Headley MB, David T, Coughlin SR, Krummel MF, Leavitt AD, Passegué E, Looney MR. The lung is a site of platelet biogenesis and a reservoir for haematopoietic progenitors. Nature. 2017 April 6;544(7648):105-109. doi:10.1038/nature21706. Epub 22 March 2017. PMID: 28329764 [original work]
  5. Zloza A, Karolina Palucka A, Coussens LM, Gotwals PJ, Headley MB, Jaffee EM, Lund AW, Sharpe AH, Sznol M, Wainwright DA, Wong KK, Bosenberg MW. Workshop on challenges, insights, and future directions for mouse and humanized models in cancer immunology and immunotherapy: a report from the associated programs of the 2016 annual meeting for the Society for Immunotherapy of cancer. Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer. 2017 5(77). DOI 10.1186/s40425-017-0278-6 [invited review]
  6. Morrissey MA, Williamson AP, Steinbach AM, Roberts EW, Kern N, Headley MB, Vale RD. Chimeric antigen receptors that trigger phagocytosis. eLife. 2018; 7:e36688 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.36699 [original work]
  7. Looney MR, Headley MB. Live imaging of the pulmonary immune environment. Cell Immunol. 2018 Oct 9. pii: S0008-8749(18)30440-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2018.09.007. [Epub ahead of print] PMID 30336937 [invited review]
  8. Boussommier-Calleja A, Atiyas Y, Haase K, Headley M, Lewis C, Kamm RD. The effects of monocytes on tumor cell extravasation in a 3D vascularized microfluidic model. Biomaterials. 2019 April; doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.03.005. PMID: 29548546 [original work]
  9. Puttur F, Denney L, Gregory LG, Vuononvirta J, Oliver R, Entwistle LJ, Walker SA, Headley MB, McGhee EJ, Pease JE, Krummel MF, Carlin LM, Lloyd CM. Pulmonary environmental cues drive group 2 innate lymphoid cell dynamics in mice and humans. Sci Immunol. 2019 Jun 7;4(36). pii: eaav7638. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aav7638. PMID: 31175176. [original work]
  10. Owyong M, Chou J, van den Bijgaart RJE, Kong N, Efe G, Maynard C, Talmi-Frank D, Solomonov I, Koopman C, Hadler-Olsen E, Headley M, Lin C, Wang C, Sagi I, Werb Z, Plaks V. MMP9 modulates the metastatic cascade and immune landscape for breast cancer anti-metastatic therapy. Life Science Alliance. 2019 Dec 1;2(6). pii: e201800226 doi: 10.26508/lsa.201800226. PMID:31727800. PMCID: PMC6856776. [original work]