Understanding the Effect of a Necroptotic Cancer Vaccine on Anti-tumor Immunity

Summer 2017

Emily Duan : Molecular and Cell Biology; Economics

Donor: Thye Fund
Mentor: Astar Winoto

The activation of the adaptive immune system in host-tumor interaction mediates the efficiency and strength of the host anti-tumor response. Necroptosis, a form of programmed cell death, has the ability to moderate the development of antitumor tolerance versus immunity due to its pro-inflammatory properties. However, in what ways and to what extent do the products of necroptosis trigger the activation of the immune system is not well understood. I am interested in using a necroptotic tumor vaccine overexpressing RIP3, a cell death protein, to study the effect of necroptosis on the adaptive immune system’s ability to detect and fight cancer cells. Through transduction of cancer cell lines, tumor injections in mice, and flow cytometry, I will investigate the effect of a necroptotic vaccine on the adaptive immune system’s tumor response by characterizing APC and T-cell function.

Thank you so much to the Thye Foundation for your generous support. SURF has been an amazing opportunity for me to engage in independent research and learn important research skills. The SURF experience has challenged me to think critically when designing and troubleshooting experiments, and has also required me to take the initiative to explore current literature relevant to my project. Over the summer, I have also developed a greater passion for research after undergrad. I currently hope to pursue research in medical school, and later while practicing as a physician. SURF has also given me the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of research in other fields through my constant interaction with other SURF fellows in cluster meetings and the SURF conference. Thank you Dr. Dirk Thye for your highly informative presentation on biotechnology, and for supporting my passion for research.