Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Faculty
Daniel Abate-Daga, PhD - Assistant Member
Dr. Abate-Daga's research is focused on the development of T cell-based immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, and the translation of those preclinical findings into clinical application.
Dennis Adeegbe - Assistant Member
Research in Dr. Adeegbe’s lab is in the area of immune regulation and immunotherapy in the context of cancer. The lab focuses on understanding the dynamics and functions of various immune cells that are present in solid cancers such as Lung Cancer and Melanoma with emphasis on immune-suppressive T cells and how they can be targeted for therapeutic outcomes.
Dorina Avram, PhD - Vice Chair, Senior Member
Avram's lab has two major areas of research: (1) Transcriptional and epigenetic control of immune cells in tumors and in infection, and (2) ubiquitination in inflammation and cancer, both with the goal of harnessing the immune responses for cancer therapies.
Amer A. Beg, PhD – Senior Member
The Beg laboratory is interested in developing new strategies aimed at modulating the tumor microenvironment to increase tumor immunogenicity and response to therapeutics. Through both laboratory and clinical trial studies, ongoing projects aim to modulate activity of epigenetic and cytokine pathways to enhance immunological control of lung cancer. The Beg laboratory is also developing novel oncolytic virus strategies to generate potent anti-tumor T cell responses that can turn immune “cold” to “hot” tumors capable of responding to checkpoint inhibitors and other immunotherapeutics.
Marco L. Davila, MD, PhD – Associate Member
My research is dedicated to developing gene-engineered cell therapies that target cancer cells in animal models of cancer. The goal of this research is to identify optimal cell therapies that can then be evaluated in cancer patients.
Jose Conejo-Garcia, MD, PhD – Department Chair, Senior Member
The goal of Dr. Conejo-Garcia’s research program is to identify and target mechanisms governing the balance between immunosuppression and protective immunity in the tumor microenvironment, with an emphasis on the role of cancer-driven pathological myelopoiesis.
Brian Czerniecki, MD, PhD - Senior Member
Dr. Brian Czerniecki's research interests focus on dendritic cell biology and interactions with T cells. He has developed dendritic cell vaccines for the treatment of cancer. He is involved with several clinical trials for treating patients with early breast cancer with dendritic cell vaccines. Dr. Czerniecki’s research goal is the development of vaccines for the prevention of breast and other solid-tumor cancers. Toward that end, he is working on identifying molecular targets in early breast cancer that can be used to prevent invasion and metastasis. Dr. Czerniecki has more than 100 publications and is recognized nationally for his contribution to the development of sentinel lymph node mapping, a procedure for determining the spread of cancer into lymph nodes that is less invasive than diagnostic surgery.
Shari A. Pilon-Thomas, PhD - Associate Member
A major goal of Dr. Pilon-Thomas’ research is to investigate approaches that overcome melanoma-mediated T cell suppression. Much of the research centers on the anti-melanoma activity of combined lymphopenia and immunotherapy.
Javier Pinilla-Ibarz, MD, PhD – Senior Member
My clinical interest is in the area of chronic leukemias with special interest in chronic myeloid leukemia and chronic lymphoid leukemias. Our laboratory is interested in implementing new immunotherapeutic strategies in the field of malignant hematology. The major focus of the lab has been on developing immunotherapeutic approaches for acute and chronic leukemias as well as MDS.
Paulo Rodriguez, PhD - Associate Member
The long-term goal of Dr. Rodriguez’s research is to develop innovative strategies that restore protective immunity in cancer, leading to long lasting anti-tumor effector responses, through targeting primary mechanisms regulating immunosuppressive pathological myelopoiesis and signals driving T cell dysfunction in tumors.
Brian Ruffell, PhD - Assistant Member
The Ruffell Lab is interested in the mechanisms by which dendritic cells and macrophages regulate response to cytotoxic, targeted, and immune therapies, with the goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets that can promote anti-tumor immunity. The lab is particularly focused on hormone-driven malignancies that have proven highly resistant to immune modulation.
Filippo Veglia, PhD - Assistant Member
Dr. Veglia’s research interest is to investigate metabolic and molecular mechanisms of immune response to cancers. His current research efforts are focused on the study of the role of myeloid cells in thwarting immune and therapeutic responses to brain cancers. His research is also focused on the design of novel strategies for the therapeutic targeting of myeloid cells.
Kenneth L. Wright, PhD – Department Vice-Chair, Senior Member
Dr. Wright’s laboratory is focused on two transcription factors, CIITA and PRDI-BF1. CIITA is a transcriptional activator and master regulator of the MHC Class II family of antigen presentation genes. PRDI-BF1 is a transcriptional repressor that silences CIITA and promotes terminal differentiation of immune cells.