Headshot of Masashi Watanabe

Masashi Watanabe, Ph.D.

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


Dr. Watanabe is an immunologist and staff scientist in the Neuro-Oncology Branch (NOB) Translational Immunology Research Program. He is interested in understanding how the immune system interacts with brain tumors and their microenvironment. His research goal is to develop novel immunotherapeutic strategies to treat brain cancer.

Explore the NOB's Research Programs >

Areas of Expertise

Cell Biology
Molecular Biology


Selected Recent Publications

Antigen-presenting T cells provide critical B7 co-stimulation for thymic iNKT cell development via CD28-dependent trogocytosis

Watanabe M, Celli S, Alkhaleel FA, Hodes RJ
Cell Reports. 41(9): 111731, 2022. [ Journal Article ]

B7-CD28 co-stimulation modulates central tolerance via thymic clonal deletion and Treg generation through distinct mechanisms

Watanabe M, Lu Y, Breen M, Hodes RJ
Nature Communications. 11(1): 1-14, 2020. [ Journal Article ]

A Thpok-Directed Transcriptional Circuitry Promotes Bcl6 and Maf Expression to Orchestrate T Follicular Helper Differentiation

Vacchio MS, Ciucci T, Gao Y, Watanabe M, Balmaceno-Criss M, McGinty MT, Huang A, Xiao Q, McConkey C, Zhao Y, Shetty J, Tran B, Pepper M, Vahedi G, Jenkins MK, McGavern DB, Bosselut R
Immunity. 51(3): 465-478, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

Co-stimulatory function in primary germinal center responses: CD40 and B7 are required on distinct antigen-presenting cells

Watanabe M, Fujihara C, Radtke AJ, Chiang YJ, Bhatia S, Germain RN, Hodes RJ
Journal of Experimental Medicine. 214(9): 2795-2810, 2017. [ Journal Article ]

Downmodulation of tumor suppressor p53 by T cell receptor signaling is critical for antigen-specific CD4(+) T cell responses

Watanabe M, Moon KD, Vacchio MS, Hathcock KS, Hodes RJ
Immunity. 40(5): 681-691, 2014. [ Journal Article ]


Microscopy image of immune cells in peripheral lymphoid tissue

Mobilizing the Immune System to Fight Brain and Spine Tumors

October 24, 2022

As a member of the Translational Immunology Research Program, Staff Scientist Dr. Masashi Watanabe investigates approaches to tailor immunotherapies to treat glioblastomas. Read more >

Headshots of the NOB's three summer interns

Translational Research Immersion Program Interns Share Their Projects at the Annual Summer Poster Day

August 4, 2022

Summer interns investigated methods to improve immunotherapy, tailor survivorship programs, and target cancer cells using antibiotics. Read more >