Damon Runyon Researchers

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McLane Watson, PhD

Cancer immunotherapy has revolutionized the way we treat cancer; however, it is only successful in a small subset of patients. Optimally functioning CD8 T cells, the specialized killers of the immune system, are key to the success of cancer immunotherapies. While CD8 T cell function is highly influenced by their metabolism, little is understood about how metabolism changes the function of these cells. Dr. Watson hypothesizes that metabolism affects CD8 T cell function by altering how tightly its DNA is packaged (its epigenetics), leading to altered gene expression. Using a mouse model of adoptive T cell therapy, a widely used immunotherapy in humans, and epigenetic techniques, Dr. Watson proposes to uncover how metabolism influences CD8 T cell epigenetic landscapes to control their function. He plans to apply these findings to improve T cell function and enhance tumor clearance. Dr. Watson received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh and his BS from Hope College, Holland, Michigan.


Project title: "Understanding CD8 T cell epigenetic changes fueled by S-adenosylmethionine metabolism for improved adoptive cell therapy"
Institution: Van Andel Institute
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Russell G. Jones, PhD
Cancer Type: Skin, All Cancers
Research Area: Basic Immunology