My research is focused on mechanisms of immune evasion facilitated by a population of myeloid lineage cells called myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC). This is a heterogeneous group of cells defined by the myeloid lineage marker CD11b and the ability to suppress T cell function. I have established a system to assay MDSC function in vitro and I have characterized two mouse strains where specific subsets of monocyte/macrophage cells can be traced and selectively depleted. Using these reagents, I aim to characterize the role of myeloid cells in priming or inhibiting tumor antigen specific immunity. In addition, together with the Immune Monitoring Facility, I am working to characterize MDSC populations in humans with cancer. Currently we are validating a panel of flow cytometric markers to screen human samples from healthy donors and patients enrolled in a number of clinical trials ongoing at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
I have a specific interest in developing innovative ways to use the immune system to treat cancer. My laboratory research is focused on the characterization of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and the implications of these cells for the development of adaptive immune responses against melanoma and other cancers.