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Position Detail

The Kim lab (KIM LAB AT VUMC-HEM/ONC) is in the division of Hematology/Oncology, the department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The Kim lab is also affiliated with Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology (VCI) and Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation (VI4). Dr. Kim (PI) is a physician who treats leukemia/lymphoma/myeloma patients using chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation. Dr. Kim is also an immunologist who is interested in tumor immunology and transplant immunology. We are looking for enthusiastic students and post-doctoral fellows.

Medicine (Hem/Onc)

1. Overcoming immune evasion in leukemia: Recently, immune checkpoint blockades, including anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) therapy, have shown unprecedented clinical efficacy in some solid tumors. However, the response rate to immune checkpoint blockades in myeloid leukemia has been disappointing. The failure of anti-PD-1 therapy in myeloid leukemia suggests that immune evasion in A myeloid leukemia may be attributed to the expression of unique co-inhibitory molecules outside the PD-1–PD ligand 1 (PD-L1) axis. We are investigating to find novel relevant co-inhibitory molecules besides PD-1¬–PD-L1 in human myeloid leukemia and study the role of those co-inhibitory molecules in mouse models including humanized mice.

2. Dissect graft-versus-host disease and graft-versus-leukemia in allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) by manipulating co-inhibitory molecules: Allo-SCT represented the earliest successful immunotherapeutic strategy in AML, employing graft-versus-leukemia (GVL; the attack of donor-derived T cells on leukemic cells). But GVL treatment is generally accompanied by the increased risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD; the attack of healthy recipient tissues by donor T cells), as both GVL and GVHD are caused by similar allogeneic T cell responses. In addition, our current immunosuppressive strategies (e.g., corticosteroids) are indiscriminate, so we cannot selectively inhibit GVHD while maintaining GVL effects. Non-selective pharmacologic inhibition can increase the risk of opportunistic infections due to delayed immune reconstitution and may mitigate GVL effects. To overcome this issue, selective inhibition of allo-reactive T cells to suppress GVHD while maintaining GVL and pathogen-specific immunity has been investigated. We are investigating strategies to selectively inhibit GVHD with sparing GVL in allo-SCT by manipulating co-inhibitory molecules.

The experience about animal experiments and multi-color flow cytometry is required. Some candidates who have experience for molecular biology, CRISPR-Cas9 design, 'R' are preferred.

Tae Kon (TK) Kim
: (615) 875-2453
2021-05-17 18:54:08

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