Elizabeth Hughes, PhD, with sponsor Raphael Validivia, PhD, has been named a Robert Black Fellow by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation for her project titled “Mechanisms of microbial modulation of cancer immunotherapy”. Immune checkpoint inhibitors, a type of cancer treatment that helps immune cells identify and kill tumor cells, have been a major breakthrough in the treatment of many cancer types. Unfortunately, not all patients respond to this immunotherapy. Dr Hughes is studying how gut microbes improve response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. The bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila lives in the gastrointestinal tract and has been shown to improve response to immune checkpoint inhibitors via poorly understood mechanisms. Dr Hughes aims to discover how A. muciniphila improves response to cancer immunotherapies and to design microbe-based therapeutic strategies that will further enhance cancer immunotherapy responses. Dr Hughes received her PhD from UT Southwestern Medical Center and her BS from Baylor University.
Read more about the Foundation’s newest cohort of Damon Runyon Fellows