Our program provides postdoctoral scholars with a unique opportunity to perform innovative, fundamental research in a pharmaceutical setting. Postdocs design and conduct their research with guidance from a principal investigator at Novartis, and an academic advisor where appropriate. Our postdocs present their work at major research conferences and aim to publish their results in leading peer-reviewed journals. We encourage applications from candidates who wish to pursue a career in academia or industry.
Our research focuses on understanding how therapies targeting the immune system cause cancer cell death. Clinically-approved immune-oncology (IO) therapies have demonstrated dramatic efficacy in some patients’ tumors, but our appreciation of the critical components driving response and resistance to these therapies is incomplete. Studies have shown that the targets of IO therapies are receptors expressed on multiple immune cell types, and some co-inhibitory receptors have several known ligands. However, investigating how these receptors function via immune-immune and tumor-immune interactions is challenging: experimental models do not reflect the diverse cell populations present in the tumor microenvironment (TME), and the technologies commonly used to assess clinical specimens are unable to capture the complexity of the TME.
Recent advances in molecular pathology - particularly genome and transcriptome profiling, and multiplex imaging analyses - may be used to shed light on the TME in situ. We aim to extend the impact of these technologies to further elucidate the fundamental nature of immune-immune and immune-tumor interactions. Untangling the complex biology of checkpoint expression and interactions will not only add to our understanding of TME biology, but also inform clinical development and strategy in the area of immunotherapy.