Our laboratory studies natural and induced immune responses to cancer. We focus on innate immune cells and also signaling pathways in the cancer cell itself that can mediate anti-tumor immunity. Our projects encompass myeloid cell biology, innate lymphocytes, tumor-derived cytokines, and cell lineage studies.
Recently, we published a role for the tumor-expressed cytokine IL-17D in promoting tumor immunity. We showed that oxidative stress induces IL-17D expression in tumor cells via activation of the transcription factor Nrf2. Our studies continue to elucidate the pathways upstream and downstream of IL-17D and also extend its role into viral and bacterial infections, allergy, and autoimmunity.
We also focus on the role of interferons (IFNs) in tumor growth and rejection. In these studies, we have found that IFNs paradoxically promote a stem-like phenotype and chemoresistant properties in cancer cells. We have established a lineage-tracing model to study the role of IFN signaling in tumor progression.
Other laboratory projects involve studying tumor-derived exosomes, generating tumor-cell based vaccines, and studying the role of the TAM (Tyro3 Axl Mer) as innate checkpoints of tumor immunity.
Our laboratory also supports clinical trials by providing flow cytometry immune phenotyping studies. We have examined longitudinal samples from patients undergoing various immune therapies and have established a pipeline to measure activation of innate and adaptive immune cells from human blood using flow cytometry.