Mauro Di Pilato, Ph.D., 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 the laboratory of Dr. Santiago González 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 a manscuript in Nature, describing the biological basis of this new cancer immunotherapy approach.
In 2019, he returned to Europe 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.
His independent research laboratory focuses on responses of different immune cell types to distinct tumor microenvironments and future applications of immunotherapy in cancer.