Connor Dwyer, Ph.D.
Research interests: Understanding the therapeutic benefit of Pi3Kd blockade and T cell memory differentiation on adoptive T cell therapy (ACT).
Research aims: My Ph.D training focused on understanding how defects in T regulatory cells contributed to the development of autoimmune disorders. I intend to combine my past training with my current research to uncouple mechanisms of tolerance and immunity and improve current ACT treatment while reducing autoimmune side effects associated with many cancer therapies.
Mentor: Chrystal Paulos, Ph.D.
Stephen Iwanowycz, Ph.D.
Research interests: Understanding chaperone regulation of dendritic cell functions in inflammation and cancer.
Research aims: Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen presenting cells, and as such they are major regulators of immunity and tolerance. Many cancer types including breast and lung cancer have been found to manipulate DCs into suppressing immune responses. We recently discovered that tolerogenic DCs are uniquely dependent on chaperone gp96 for their functions. The goal of my research is to gain a deeper understanding of tolerogenic DC regulation, and to identify the role of DCs in immune surveillance. I will characterize the anti-tumor immune response generated by genetically deleting gp96 from DCs while also seeking to develop methods to pharmacologically targeted gp96 specifically within tumor infiltrating DCs.
Mentor: Bei Liu, M.D., MPH