Current Status: GRAD
Graduate Department: Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis
Advisor(s): Jacques Galipeau, MD
I will be producing a novel fusion protein, consisting of IL-21 and the soluble ectodomain of the TGF-b receptor (type 2), and characterizing its ability to decrease tumor proliferation in vivo. This sword and shield strategy involves the ability of this fusion protein to trap TGF-b, which is abundantly expressed by tumors to downregulate the host immune response, as well as provide a pro-inflammatory signal in the form of IL-21, which is critical in alerting and activating the host immune response to the presence of tumor. Once the fusion protein has been generated, it will be used to stimulate immune cells of all types and characterized phenotypically to determine whether it has any significantly different signaling properties than IL-21 alone. We will also be engineering tumor cells to express the fusion protein and challenge immunosuppressed mice with control and fusion protein-expressing cells to determine the effects of the fusion protein on tumor growth in vivo.