Research Positions

Email: [email protected]

Program: Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology Graduate Student
Year Entered: 2018-2024
Dissertation Title: "B Cell Leukemia Elicits a Suppressive CD4 T cell Response that is Reprogrammed with PDL1 Blockade"
Thesis Advisor: Michael Farrar

Research: Checkpoint blockade using anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA4 has been successfully employed to treat various cancers such as melanoma, lung cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Most of these cancers have a high number of mutations are thus highly immunogenic. However, the efficacy of checkpoint blockade has been low in cancers with a low mutation burden. BCR-ABL + B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (B-ALL) is one such type of cancer that occurs in children and adults. Although current treatment modalities are highly effective in children, the efficacy in adults is significantly lower. Previous work from our laboratory has demonstrated that T cells specific for the BCR-ABL fusion peptide are converted to Tregs during the course of leukemia and inhibit anti-tumor immunity. Vaccination with the BCR-ABL peptide, followed by heterologous priming with various viruses and checkpoint blockade improved survival in mice with B-ALL. My project aims at characterizing the immune cells that are necessary for a protective anti-leukemia immune response, and to develop strategies involving checkpoint blockade to induce the same. Specifically, we are interested in understanding the contribution of cytotoxic CD4 T cells and type-I interferon to the anti-leukemia immune response in-vivo. List of Publications

Degrees received: 
BS, University of California, San Diego, 2016
MS, University of California, San Diego, 2018
PhD, University of Minnesota, MN, 2024

Current Position: Postdoc with Dr. Lawrence Fong at the Fred Hutch Cancer Center in Seattle
Contact Info: [email protected] 

Hrishi Venkatesh