Focus On: Cancer Immunotherapy

Jeffrey C. Rathmell, Ph.D. and Greg M. Delgoffe, Ph.D.

Date and time

November 8, 2021

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM PT



Jeffrey C. Rathmell, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

"Local and Systemic Nutrients and Tumor Infiltrating Immune Cells"

Dr. Rathmell studies mechanisms that regulate lymphocyte fate and differentiation in inflammatory diseases and cancer. He has an interdisciplinary research program with a focus on genetic and biochemical approaches to discover mechanisms of immunometabolism that drive or influence immune-related diseases. Following a PhD in Immunology at Stanford University and postdoctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania, his work as faculty at Duke University and Vanderbilt University showed that the metabolism of lymphocytes was dynamically regulated, and that each T cell subset adopts a specific metabolic program that can be targeted to modulate cell function and fate. He joined Vanderbilt in 2015 to direct the Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology and is Leader for the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center Program in Host-Tumor Interactions. His awards include Scholar of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Bernard Osher Fellow of the American Asthma Foundation, and William Paul Distinguished Innovator of the Lupus Research Alliance.

Greg M. Delgoffe, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Tumor Microenvironment Center
Department of Immunology
University of Pittsburgh

"Metabolic causes and consequences of T cell exhaustion in cancer"

Greg M. Delgoffe is an Associate Professor of Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Dr. Delgoffe obtained his Ph.D at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2010, studying the role of the nutrient sensor mTOR in T cell fate and function. He then went on to complete postdoctoral training at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, identifying signals that stabilize regulatory T cells solid tumors. He began his independent research group in 2014, focused around the metabolic regulation of T cell fate in cancer. Since its inception, Dr. Delgoffe’s lab has worked to both understand the metabolic deficiencies experienced by T cells as they infiltrate tumors and leverage that insight into metabolic strategies to bolster antitumor immunity. His group has uncovered that metabolic defects like loss of functional mitochondria and competition for nutrients are central to T cell dysfunction in cancer, which suggests that all forms of immune-based therapy may be improved by metabolic modulation. Much of his work has been translated into novel therapeutics as well as clinical trials repurposing metabolic drugs as immunometabolic agents to improve immunotherapy responses. He has been competitive for funding from federal, foundation, and industry sources and has received several awards for innovation, including a Stand Up To Cancer Innovative Research Grant, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Mark Foundation Emerging Leader Award, and the Cancer Research Institute’s Lloyd J. Old STAR Award.