Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences
Associate Professor, Pediatrics
My interests are predominantly bone marrow transplantation and adoptive T-cell and NK-cell therapy for the treatment of hematological malignancies and complications associated with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT). My lab has shown that preferentially targeting the beta-2 adrenergic receptor on lymphocytes (using acute exercise or isoproterenol infusion in combination with various beta-adrenergic receptor ligands) augments the mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells and mature lymphocyte subtypes (i.e. NK-cells, gamma delta T-cells, virus-specific T-cells) that are considered to be useful in the setting of alloHSCT. We have also shown that signaling through this receptor augments the ex vivo manufacture of multi-virus specific T-cells (i.e. to CMV, EBV and adenovirus
antigens) and tumor antigen specific T-cells (i.e. WT-1, PRAME, MAGEA4); increasing their antigen-specific function when assessed in vitro. One of our goals is to therapeutically target the beta-2 adrenergic receptor to alter the composition of donor grafts in vivo prior to transplant with a view to maximizing the graft versus tumor effect and lowering the incidence of graft versus host disease when using peripheral blood stem cells for transplant. In my current R21 project, we are determining the effects of latent CMV infection on NK-cell reconstitution and complete remission rates in multiple myeloma patients following autologous stem cell transplantation. I have an adjunct position at MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX) where the patient related aim of this project is being conducted. The second aim of the R21 is to manufacture an NK-cell line from healthy donors to over express the activating receptor NKG2C (which we see in people with CMV), so that it may be used to treat HLA-E expressing malignancies through adoptive transfer immunotherapy.