INTRODUCING EIPM MEMBER NIROSHANA ANANDASABAPATHY, M.D., PH.D., DERMATOLOGY AND CANCER IMMUNOLOGY RESEARCHER
Dr. Anandasabapathy is an Associate Professor of Dermatology and is affiliated with the Meyer Cancer Center’s Immuno-Oncology Working Group. As a physician-scientist in dermatology studying the immune surveillance of barrier tissues and tumor, her work is focused on the cross-talk between T cells and dendritic cells, and the co-opting of tissue specific programs in the tumor microenvironment.
“I am always enthusiastic to work with other groups, especially in the advanced genomics arena,” Dr. Anandasabapathy said. “This allows us to leverage the most cutting-edge analyses and technologies in order to study how immune development occurs in tissues and tumors, and how that can be used to identify new immune-oncology targets and stratify patient survival.”
What makes your research unique? Can you share with us some recent findings?
Our research uniquely incorporates in vivo cellular biology and physiology with advanced genomics across mouse models and uses native human tissues and tumors. We recently identified a program supporting immune homeostasis, or stability, that is highly conserved in the myeloid compartment and coopted in 29 human cancers- including melanoma. Through this we identified a novel immuno-oncology target.
What excites you about your work?
I really enjoy translating these findings into patients. The team-based, problem-solving approach within my lab is always motivating, and considering these findings on an evolutionary/developmental level is always fun. I am happy to work with other groups in advanced genomics to leverage our findings and think cohesively across problems.
What cutting-edge technologies are you leveraging to propel the field forward?
Recent breakthroughs in the study of the tumor microenvironment and tissue homeostasis make it possible to begin to relate these states. Also, in single cell sequencing, advanced algorithms can now be applied to new patient data sets.
What are the short-term challenges that your scientific field is facing?
Funding is always an issue for high-risk, high-reward questions. I think with the success of checkpoint inhibitors and their usage there could be a complacency towards not only a translational but also a basic science mission. It’s important to study human samples and trials, but to also recognize that basic investigation is what led to the identification of these critical pathways.
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