Headshot of Masaki Terabe

Masaki Terabe, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Neuro-Oncology Branch


Dr. Terabe is a trained immunologist who heads the Basic Immunology Research Program at the Neuro-Oncology Branch (NOB). He seeks to understand the mechanisms of immune regulation in cancer patients. He hopes to elucidate what drives the immune system to fail to eliminate a tumor—and use those findings to therapeutically trigger the immune system to act more effectively against the tumor (an approach called immunotherapy). His research currently focuses on natural killer T (NKT) cells, a lesser-known component of the immune system with the response rate of the innate immune system but the antigen specificity of the adaptive immune system. They are unique cells that can be recruited to attack tumors and/or help other immune cells destroy malignant cells. Dr. Terabe hopes to translate his knowledge on NKT cells to new cancer treatments that can help patients combat brain tumors more effectively.

Explore the NOB's Research Programs >

Areas of Expertise

Tumor Immunology
Natural Killer T-Cells (NKTs)


Selected Recent Publications

Making a Cold Tumor Hot: The Role of Vaccines in the Treatment of Glioblastoma

Frederico, F.C., Hancock, J.C., Brettschneider, E.E.S., Ratnam, N.M., Gilbert, M.R., Terabe, M.
Frontiers in Oncology. 11: 2021. [ Journal Article ]

Unique challenges for glioblastoma immunotherapy-discussions across neuro-oncology and non-neuro-oncology experts in cancer immunology. Meeting Report from the 2019 SNO Immuno-Oncology Think Tank.

Chuntova, P., Chow, F., Watchmaker, P.B., Galvez, M., Heimberger, A.B., Newell, E.W., Diaz, A., DePinho, R.A., Li, M.O., Wherry, E.J., Mitchell, D., Terabe, M., Wainwright, D.A., Berzofsky, J.A., Herold-Mende, C., Heath, J.R., Lim, M., Margolin, K.A., Chiocca, E.A., Kasahara, N., Ellingson, B.M., Brown, C.E., Chen, Y., Fecci, P.E., Reardon, D.A., Dunn, G.P., Liau, L.M., Costello, J.F., Wick, W., Cloughesy, T., Timmer, W.C., Wen, P.Y., Prins, R.M., Platten, M., Okada, H.
Neuro-Oncology. 23(3): 356–375, 2021. [ Journal Article ]

MerTK inhibition decreases immune suppressive glioblastoma-associated macrophages and neoangiogenesis in glioblastoma microenvironment.

Su, Y.T., Butler, M., Zhang, M., Song,H., Hwang, L., Tran, A.D., Bash, R.E., Schorzman, A.N., Pang, Y., Yu, G., Zamboni, W.C., Wang, X., Frey, S.V., Miller, C.R., Maric, D., Terabe, M., Gilbert, M.R., Earp III, H.S., Wu, J.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology Advances. 2(1): 2020. [ Journal Article ]

Another layer of immune complication in glioblastoma: ICOS-ICOL.

Terabe, M., Gilbert, M.R.
Neuro-Oncology. 22(3): 305–306, 2020. [ Journal Article ]

Structure-Function Implications of the Ability of Monoclonal Antibodies Against α-Galactosylceramide-CD1d Complex to Recognize β-Mannosylceramide Presentation by CD1d.

Clark, K., Yau, J., Bloom, A., Wang, J., Venzon, D.J., Suzuki, M., Pasquet, L., Compton, B.J., Cardell., S.L., Porcelli, S.A., Painter, G.F., Zajonc, D.M., Berzofsky, J.A., Terabe, M.
Frontiers in Immunology. 2019. [ Journal Article ]

Job Vacancies

There are no open positions at this time. Check back again later, or take a look at CCR's Careers page.


Postbaccalaureate Fellow (IRTA/CRTA)
Morgan Coombs
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Ayaka Hara, M.D., Ph.D.
Special Volunteer
Guzal Khayrullina, Ph.D.
Senior Research Assistant
Hye Kyung Kim, M.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Nargis Malik, Ph.D.
Predoctoral Fellow (OXCAM)
Emily Steffke


Hands in lab gloves looking at a tube in an ice bucket

Immunology and the Brain: Scientific Discoveries Needs to Improve Patient Outcomes

February 9, 2022

As the lead of the Basic Immunology Research Program, Dr. Terabe investigates the functions of T cells in brain and spine cancers, in order to glean a better understanding of glioblastoma immunobiology. Read more >

Student working at a computer

2021 Summer Internship Program

The NOB welcomed six summer interns for the summer 2021 cohort who were able to observe and engage with clinical and laboratory professionals that lead clinical, translational, and basic research. Read more >

Scientist in lab working at computer

Neuro-Oncology Branch 2020 Year in Review

January 22, 2021

Together, our clinical team, research laboratories, and staff have made meaningful advancements to improve outcomes for patients and their families impacted by brain and spine tumors. Read more >

Dr. Masaki Terabe and Dr. Vibhuti Joshi in lab

Celebrating National Mentoring Month

January 31, 2020

We celebrate our impactful mentors in the Neuro-Oncology Branch for National Mentoring Month. Our postdoctoral fellows share their love for science and how their mentors have made their experience at NIH more rewarding. Read more >