Investigating How T Cell Immunosurveillance Restricts Progression of Developing Tumors

2022 Emerging Leader Award

Nikhil Joshi, PhD, Yale University

Nikhil Joshi, PhD

The T cells that a patient needs to fight their cancer are already present in their bodies at the time when they walk in the clinic for treatment. Immunotherapies can make use these T cells to kill tumors, but these treatments often fail; why immunotherapy is only effective in a subset of patients is not clear. In this project, Dr. Joshi is determining why T cell-based therapies are robust in some cancers and not others. By employing state-of-the-art mouse models and sophisticated omics techniques, Dr. Joshi will determine how tumor-immune interactions initially prevent tumor growth and how this breaks down as tumors progress to cancer in different contexts. A better understanding of what makes T cells effective will lead to strategies for augmenting ineffective responses in patients that fail standard of care immunotherapies.

Dr. Joshi became interested in the immune system as an undergraduate at Michigan. After obtaining a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, he received a PhD in Immunology from Yale University by studying how T cells make immunologic memory. This was followed by postdoctoral training studying cancer biology and cancer immunology at MIT. Dr. Joshi is now an Assistant Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University. In his laboratory, he develops cutting-edge animal models of cancer to study the intersection between cancer biology and T-cell biology.

published research

Damo M, Hornick NI, Venkat A, William I, Clulo K, Venkatesan S, He J, Fagerberg E, Loza JL, Kwok D, Tal A, Buck J, Cui C, Singh J, Damsky WE, Leventhal JS, Krishnaswamy S, Joshi NS. PD-1 maintains CD8 T cell tolerance towards cutaneous neoantigens. Nature. 2023.