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Faculty Member Hao Shen Mentors Undergraduate Student

Dr. Hao Shen, Associate Professor of Microbiology, and his lab have been highlighted for their mentorship and training of undergraduate students...More

IGG Labs Participate in Penn's Summer Undergraduate Internship Program

Several IGG faculty participated in the School of Medicine's Summer Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP). Thirty-three students from the the US and Puerto Rico completed ten-week internships in Penn research laboratories... More

Carl June Awarded 2014 Taubman Prize

Carl June, MD, was awarded the 2014 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science. This distinction is awarded by the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan Medical School ... More

John Wherry Co-directs $12 Million Grant to Study Hepatitus

John Wherry, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are co-directing a $12 million grant to study immune responses in people who have been effectively cured of hepatitis C viral infection with new, high-potency antiviral drugs ... More

Penn IGG Faculty Make Thomson Reuters Most Influential Scientific Minds List

Penn and NIH IGG faculty are some of the "world's most influential scientific minds" according to a Thomson Reuters's report. Based on analysis of citation data, the staff at Thomson Reuters have determined who published the highest impact work over an eleven-year period, 2002-2012.

The 2014 list included these IGG scientists:

David Artis (Penn)
Yasmine Belkaid (NIAID, NIH)
Jason Brenchley (NIAID, NIH)
Daniel Douek (NIAID, NIH)
Dmitry Gabrilovich (The Wistar Institute)
John O’Shea (NIAMS, NIH)
Nicholas Restifo (NCI, NIH)
Alan Sher (NIAID, NIH)
John Wherry (Penn)

Dr. Daniel J. Powell, Jr. Receives ASGCT Outstanding New Investigator Award

IFI investigator, Daniel J. Powell Jr., PhD has been selected by the Board of Directors from the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) for a 2014 Outstanding New Investigator Award. Dr. Powell was selected from a competitive field of nominations based upon his significant contributions to the field of gene and cell therapy. The award ceremony and presentation session were held during the 17th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in May, and was attended by thousands of meeting participants.

The Powell Lab is developing innovative immunotherapy strategies built upon clinical observations and studies in basic T cell biology. Adoptive T cell therapy using naturally-occurring tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) or peripheral blood T cells genetically modified to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) can mediate comprehensive cancer elimination in patients, provided that highly avid, tumor antigen-specific T cells with the ability to proliferate and persist after infusion can be identified. We recently overcame one obstacle to widespread TIL therapy by showing that naturally-occurring tumor-reactive T cells in various cancers can be identified by their cell surface expression of the TNFR superfamily receptor, CD137, demonstrating a role for CD137 in the immunobiology of cancer. To instill T cells with enhanced ability to persist after infusion, we recently applied CAR technology as a tool to test the impact of various costimulatory signals on human CAR T cell survival following antigen encounter in vivo, and discovered a functional role for CD27 in human T cell memory formation. We also devised a novel dual CAR T cell approach where the TCR signal is dissociated from costimulatory signals in two independent CARs of distinct antigen specificity, thus delivering tumor-focused activity while comparatively sparing normal healthy tissues expressing a low level of single antigen. Lastly, to develop widespread T cell therapy, we pioneered a universal immune receptor approach that is adaptable in antigen specificity, allowing for highly personalized T cell generation based upon the repertoire of antigens expressed by each individual’s cancer cells. These strategies build on the early success of adoptive immunotherapy by addressing significant hurdles to otherwise safe and effective T cell therapy.

Ryan Moy Winner of Saul Winegrad Award for Outstanding Dissertation

Congratulations to Ryan Moy, IGG's winner of this year's Saul Winegrad Award for Outstanding Dissertation! Ryan completed his thesis, "An evolutionarily conserved role for autophagy in antiviral defense" in January 2013 under the supervision of Dr. Sara Cherry.

IGG Students Present at AAI

Several Immunology graduate group students presented at the American Association of Immunologists 2014 Annual Meeting:

Talks

Alan Copenhaver: "CComplementary immune roles for infected and uninfected cells during bacterial infection"
Vered Gigi: "RAG2 mutants alter DSB repair pathway choice in vivo and reveal unexpected features of alternative NHEJ"

Posters

Michael Cho: "Shared VH1-46 gene usage by anti-desmoglein 3 antibodies in pemphigus vulgaris suggest a common mechanism for developing autoimmunity"
Awo Layman: "Ndfip1 limits TH17 differentiation and proinflammatory cytokine production"
Martin Naradikian: "L-21 blocks B cell death from BCR-delivered TLR9 agonists and upregulates both AID and T-bet"
Naomi Philip: "Caspase-8, RIPK1 and FADD regulate cell death and caspase-1 activation during yersinia infection"

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