Dr. Mauro Di Pilato is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He graduated from the University of Bari (Italy) in 2006 with a Master Degree in Medical Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine. After being awarded with a Leonardo da Vinci scholarship, he moved to the Spanish National Biotechnology Centre (CNB) in Madrid to study activation, cell cycle and apoptosis of T cells in autoimmunity and inflammation.
He joined the laboratory of Prof. Mariano Esteban (CNB) for his thesis in 2009. Here, he mainly worked in two different projects directed towards understanding the poxvirus-dependent mechanisms involved in the generation of antigen-specific T cell responses and to improving the poxvirus’ capacity to induce these responses (4 first-author original papers in J. Virol, J. Gen. Virol., PNAS, and J. Gen. Virol.). After obtaining his Ph.D. title in 2015, he performed a short stay in Switzerland in Dr. Santiago González laboratory for a collaborative project between CNB and Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) of Bellinzona, to study neutrophil and T cell migration and intracellular communication using in vivo two photon imaging after vaccinia infection in mouse model.
In 2015, he joined the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) in Boston as a Research Fellow in the Department of Rheumatology/Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Disease where he pursued work in Immunolgy with Dr. Thorsten Mempel. His main research work, funded by EMBO Long-Term and Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellowships, focused on how regulatory ans cytotoxic T cells exert their functions in tumor mouse models. As a result from this work, he published 2 first-author manscuripts in Nature and Cell, describing the biological basis of these new cancer immunotherapy approaches.
In 2019, he returned to Europe (Switzerland) in the IRB based on the stipulations of his last year of Marie Currie fellowship. Here, he was carrying out the project focused on how neutrophils shape antigen-specific T cell activation upon poxvirus vaccination (first-author publication in NPJ Vaccines).
The responses of different immune cell types to distinct tumor microenvironments as well as the future applications of immunotherapy in cancer are the focus of his independent research laboratory.
Senior Research Assistant
I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Shanghai (China) and I have been working as research assistant in Houston area in the past 20 years. I have experience in molecular and cellular biology and acquired great expertise in cloning, western blotting and cell culture.
In April 2021, I joined the Di Pilato lab where I am responsible for ordering animals and maintaining supplies. I am in charge of work area and equipment to ensure the laboratory operates safely, is clean, and all equipment is in good working order. I also instruct other staff and students in basic laboratory techniques and I am involved with them in the discussion of project goals and strategies.
I completed my undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore and my doctoral training in immunology and genetics at the Medical University of Vienna (Austria). During my Ph.D., I identified and characterized three novel monogenic defects in patients suffering from human inborn errors of immunity, contributing to the diagnosis and therapeutic options of patients with rare immunological diseases. I recently joined the Di Pilato lab where I am excited to explore the mechanisms controlling regulatory T cells intratumoral stability and infiltration. I am focused on understanding how antigen-presenting cells control these processes and consequently, discovering new immune checkpoint approaches. In my leisure times, I enjoy traveling, singing, music, calligraphy and painting.