Dr. Michele Ardolino
The function of Natural Killer (NK) cells is embedded in their name: they should kill!!! Then why do NK cells often fail to respond to tumors? This question has been at the very center of my research since 2010, and despite some answers were found, there are still many open questions.
My group at OHRI and uOttawa is interested in deciphering the molecular pathways and the cellular interactions that lead to failure of NK cell response to tumors. We use this knowledge to design tailored immunotherapies to mobilize NK cells against cancer.
Currently the lab is focusing on:
1. determining the functions of checkpoint receptors on NK cells in tumor mouse models and in cancer patients.
2. understanding the cellular networks that suppress the NK cell response to cancer.
3. deciphering the molecular pathways responsible for suppressing NK cell activation in the tumor microenvironment.