Oluwatayo Ikotun*

Oluwatayo Ikotun

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California Los Angeles


UCLA Molecular and Medical Pharmacology/Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging
CNSI 4335, Box 951770
570 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095


Member, Immunity, Microbes & Molecular Pathogenesis GPB Home Area, Molecular Pharmacology GPB Home Area, Physics & Biology in Medicine GPB Home Area
Faculty, Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging

Research Interests

Dr Ikotun is Head of the Laboratory for Image Guided Immunotherapy where the research program focuses on developing molecular imaging tools for in vivo characterization of immune cell populations. By leveraging multimodal and multiplex nuclear imaging we aim to increase our basic understanding of the dynamic interplay between distinct immune cell populations during disease progression and monitor the impact of therapeutic intervention on these immune subtypes. We plan to utilize the knowledge gleaned to design next generation immunotherapies that strive to address the unmet medical needs of the 60-70 % of patients that remain unresponsive to current cancer immunotherapies. Our approach utilized targeted radio-immuno-therapeutics (TRIT), trifecta molecules comprised of a tumor targeting moiety, an immune co-stimulator/inhibitor, and radiation therapy. By employing this strategy, we intend to convert immunologically “cold” lesion into “hot” infiltrated and responsive masses. Diagnostic surrogates of each TRIT will enable us to take an image-guided approach to treatment planning, facilitate evaluation of tissue distribution, and identify on and off-target liabilities.


Dr Oluwatayo (Tayo) Ikotun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology and Crump Institute of Molecular Imaging at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in Bioinorganic Chemistry from Syracuse University where she synthesized and evaluated the anti-cancer properties of pyrophosphate bridged metallo-therapeutics. She applied her inorganic chemistry expertise and trained as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington University School of Medicine, where she utilized radiometal based macromolecules as diagnostic Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging agents for the detection of cancerous lesions. Dr. Ikotun went on to work as a translational research Scientist within the Research Imaging Sciences group at Amgen Inc and as a Senior Research Investigator in the Preclinical Imaging at Bristol Myers Squibb. During her six-year tenure in biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry she served as the subject matter expert for immuno-oncology and inflammation imaging. Her research focuses on developing nuclear imaging tools for the in vivo monitoring of endogenous and exogenous immune cells.


A selected list of publications: