Immunology in
Cancer & Infection

Professor Mark Smyth

Senior Scientist

The Immunology in Cancer and Infection Laboratory focuses on advancing our understanding of the basic principles underlying an immune response to cancer (and metastases) and infection. We aim to understand these processes at the molecular level, with particular emphasis on two major pathways of resistance to immunotherapy – the CD226/CD96/TIGIT-CD155 receptor-ligand complex and the extracellular ATP/adenosine pathways. We also study the role of the innate immune system, in particular, the NK cell-ILC1/myeloid cross talk.

We have developed approaches to block these two pathways of immunotherapy resistance, including creating new agents to block lymphocyte CD96/TIGIT immune checkpoints or promote ATP accumulation while limiting adenosine-mediated immune suppression. Our findings are used to develop more effective biological and cellular therapies for human cancer, in particular, melanoma, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, and haematological cancers, such as multiple myeloma, where we aim to treat minimal residual disease. We are also deleting various genes in NK cells and myeloid cells in the context of tumour initiation and metastases, with a view to understanding the major mechanisms of immune suppression limiting NK cells and myeloid cell anti-tumour function.

CURRENT RESEARCH

  • developing CD96 and TIGIT as immune checkpoint targets in cancer
  • determining the impact of CD226-CD155 interactions in cancer
  • improving T cell infiltration and function in cancer
  • evaluating CD39 as a target in cancer
  • understanding the tissue specific function of CD73 and CD39 in cancer
  • determining what regulates minimal residual disease in multiple myeloma
  • checkpoint blockade and denosumab in the treatment of established primary and metastatic cancers in NSCLC
  • developing novel bispecific monoclonal antibodies targeting cancer
  • scheduling immunotherapy in cancer treatment
  • targeting ER stress in the tumour microenvironment
  • determining the function of NKG7 in cancer

Staff

  • Kyohei Nakaumra, Senior Research Officer
  • Frank Vari, Senior Research Officer
  • Kimberley Stannard, Research Officer
  • Xian-Yang Li, Research Officer
  • Ashwini R Potadar, Research Officer
  • Lun-Hsien Chang, Research Officer
  • Shin Foong Ngiow, NHMRC Overseas Early Career Fellow
  • Arabella Young, Research Officer (Offsite)
  • Jason Madore, Scientific Officer
  • Liam Town, Laboratory Manager
  • Sally Pearson, Translational Research Coordinator
  • Brodie Quine, Scientific Technical Officer
  • Andreea Zaharia, Scientific Technical Officer
  • Mika Casey, Research Assistant
  • Bianca Nowlan, Research Assistant
  • Gahyathiri Nallan, Research Assistant
  • Basit Salik, Research Assistant
  • Cui Tu, Student
  • Vikas Duhan, Visiting Scientist

Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

  • Professor Geoff Hill, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center
  • Professor Robert Schreiber & Professor Marco Colonna, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Professor Laurence Zitvogel & Professor Guido Kroemer, Institut Gustav Roussy
  • Professor Yuting Ma, Suzhou Institute of Systems Medicine
  • Professor Eric Vivier, Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy
  • Professor Kazuyoshi Takeda, Juntendo University School of Medicine
  • Associate Professor John Stagg, University of Montreal
  • Dr Ludovic Martinet, Toulouse Cancer Centre
  • Dr Ana Anderson, Harvard Medical School
  • Professor Vijay Kuchroo, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr Hassane Zarour, University of Pittsburgh
  • Professor William Dougall, Seattle USA
  • Dr Michael Holzel, University of Bonn
  • Dr David Thomas, Kinghorn Cancer Centre
  • Professor Peter Croucher, Garvan Institute
  • Dr Tri Phan, Garvan Institute
  • Dr Georgina Long & Dr Richard Scolyer, Melanoma Institute of Australia
  • Dr Michael Kershaw, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti, Monash University
  • Professor Shaun McColl, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Nicholas Huntington & Dr Seth Masters, Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • Dr Brett Hughes, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital/Prince Charles Hospital
  • Dr Martin Batstone, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
  • Dr Gabrielle Belz, University of Queensland
  • Dr Camille Guillerey & Dr Maher Gandhi, Mater Private Hospital Brisbane

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the following funding agencies:

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (Program Grant, Fellowships, Project Grant, Investigator Grant, Development Grant)
  • Cancer Research Institute (CLIP Grant, Clinical Strategy Team Grant)
  • Cancer Council Queensland (Accelerating Collaborative Cancer Research Grant, Project Grant)
  • Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Enabling Project Grant
  • Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Corvus Pharmaceuticals
  • Aduro Biotech
  • Tizona Therapeutics
  • QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute