Our primary interest is understanding transcriptional control of innate immune cell development and function by cytokine-activated STAT proteins. Major projects in our laboratory focus on mechanisms by which STATs regulate myeloid and dendritic cell activity in tumors, the anti-inflammatory function of STAT3 in hematopoiesis, and whether and how STATs contribute to immune adverse events in cancer immunotherapy.
Specific research interests and projects of the Watowich lab members include:
My research interests are in innate immunity, dendritic cell biology and molecular biology. With my project, I use both in vitro and in vivo models to study the role and regulation of lineage-specific transcription factors in DC immune function.
My interests lie in both dendritic cell biology and tumor immunology. Currently, I have two main projects, 1) elucidating how myeloid cells promote pulmonary metastasis in breast cancer, and 2) uncovering novel aspects of how tumor infiltrating dendritic cells respond to the tumor microenvironment.
I have been studying the molecular cues and extrinsic signals involved in the development and functional diversification of innate immune cells and their hematopoietic progenitors, with a major focus on dendritic cells (DCs). My ongoing research is to understand the essential roles of cytokines and their responsive transcription factors, STATs, in modulating DC subset specification and functional polarization during inflammation and tumor immunity. My long-term goal is to dissect the regulatory networks involved in shaping the differentiation and function of immune cells, with primary interest in studying the crosstalk between myeloid cells and disease-specific microenvironmental factors.
My research is focused on the study and development of a dendritic cell vaccine to be used as an immunotherapy for the treatment of various cancers. Currently, I am using mouse melanoma models to test the efficacy of a unique dendritic cell vaccine developed in our laboratory. Concurrently, we are translating the application of the dendritic cell immunotherapy to the treatment of pediatric osteosarcoma and lung metastasis. This research is directed at expanding treatment modalities for pediatric osteosarcoma patients and improving their quality of life by decreasing the need for traditional chemotherapies.
- To study the role of DC-intrinsic STAT signaling in inflammation and tumor development.
- To access the therapeutic role of DC-based vaccination in cancer.
- To determine the role of DC in immune-related adverse events of cancer immunotherapies.