Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Elizabeth R. Hughes, PhD

Immune checkpoint inhibitors, a type of cancer treatment that helps immune cells identify and kill tumor cells, have been a major breakthrough in the treatment of many cancer types. Unfortunately, not all patients respond to this immunotherapy. Dr. Hughes [Robert Black Fellow] is studying how gut microbes improve response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. The bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila lives in the gastrointestinal tract and has been shown to improve response to immune checkpoint inhibitors via poorly understood mechanisms. Dr. Hughes aims to discover how A. muciniphila improves response to cancer immunotherapies and to design microbe-based therapeutic strategies that will further enhance cancer immunotherapy responses. Dr Hughes received her PhD from UT Southwestern Medical Center and her BS from Baylor University.

Project title: "Mechanisms of microbial modulation of cancer immunotherapy"
Institution: Duke University School of Medicine
Named Award: Robert Black Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Raphael H. Valdivia, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Microbiology