Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy


Cancer Immunology Picture 1Cancer Immunology Picture 2Cancer Immunology Picture 3Understanding the Immunology of Cancer has provided tremendous benefit to patients in recent years.  Research at UVA has fundamentally contributed to these advances, beginning with the early identification of tumor proteins targeted by T cells in melanoma patients.  Current research areas studied include the interactions between newly formed tumor cells and both innate and adaptive immune cells, the role of myeloid cells (e.g. macrophages, antigen presenting cells) in the regulation of the tumor microenvironment, how lymphocytes traffic to tumors, and how tumors hide from them, and the relationship between a patient’s microbiome and their immune cells in different cancers.

Further translational research is being performed in the identification of specific cellular targets that can be used for anti-cancer therapies, the development of anti-tumor vaccines and the immunological optimization of these therapies. For example, combining standard immunotherapy with focused ultrasound or irradiation may be a much more effective way to treat patients to provide long-term protection against recurrent disease.

The cancer immunology community at UVA, with over 20 independently funded investigators, is incredibly vibrant and supported by two training grants; the Immunology and the Cancer Training Grants, and by UVA’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. It is an invigorating field of study, extensively interacts with other discovery research programs in BIMS, and provides a pathway for knowledge learned in the lab to be translated to clinical trials, with reverse translation from patients also at the forefront.


  • Anderson, Kristin

    Engineering cancer-killing T cells to overcome obstacles in solid tumors

  • Bullock, Timothy N.

    Pathways to enhance T cell function in tumors.

  • Dolatshahi, Sepideh

    Systems Immunology, Cancer Systems Biology, , Neonatal and Maternal Immunology

  • Dudley, Andrew

    Tumor microenvironment and mechanisms of tumor neovascularization

  • Engelhard, Victor H.

    Identification of MHC-restricted tumor antigens / Control of T cell homing to tumors / Tertiary lymphoid structures and intratumoral immunity

  • Ewald, Sarah

    Innate immunity, chronic disease, host-parasite interactions, Toxoplasma gondii, proteomics

  • Li, Hui

    Gene regulation in cancer, RNA processing; Epigenetic modification; Stem cell and development

  • Loughran, Jr., Thomas P

    Hematologic malignancies; bone marrow disorders; leukemia; large granular lymphocyte (LGL)

  • Mauldin, Ileana Soto


  • Park, Kwon-Sik

    Mechanisms of tissue/organ homeostasis and tumorigeensis

  • Price, Richard J.

    Image Guided Drug and Gene Delivery for Neurodegeneration and Cancer; Focused Ultrasound and Immunotherapy; Arteriogenesis and Angiogenesis

  • Purow, Benjamin W.

    Novel therapeutic approaches to brain cancers and to other neurologic diseases

  • Rutkowski, Melanie

    Influence of commensal microbes on immune homeostasis, anti-tumor immunity, and metastasis

  • Sheybani, Natasha

    Biomedical Engineering

  • Sun, Jie

    Viral immunology, T cells, Macrophages, Tissue repair

  • Xie, Jinghang

    Molecular Imaging; Cancer Immunology; Vaccines; Antibiotic Resistance.

  • Zong, Hui

    Early detection, cancer prevention, and tumor microenvironment