Dr Misty Jenkins

Dr Misty Jenkins

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Dr Misty Jenkins at a microscope

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Dr
Misty
Jenkins

BSc(Hons) Melb PhD Melb

Laboratory Head

Division:

Lab focus: T cell biology

Our research team investigates the biology of white blood cells called cytotoxic lymphocytes. These cells are the serial killers of the immune system, and it’s their job to seek and destroy cancerous and virus infected cells. We are studying the cell biology behind how to activate and manipulate killer lymphocytes so that we can tailor immune responses to kill cancer. 

Recent advances in cancer immunotherapy have aimed to recruit the immune system to fight cancer; this has shown great clinical promise.

Our work is generating genetically engineered killer T cells for use as therapy against brain cancer

Research interest

Our team is focused on a number of projects that investigate cytotoxic CD8+ T cell lymphocyte responses to cancer. Our research aims to understand various aspects of the killing process: the interplay between killer lymphocytes and other immune cells, and the subsequent consequences for the immune system.

Our projects utilise live cell imaging techniques, together with cellular immunology approaches.

Our research focusses on a type of adoptive T cell immunotherapy called Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell (CAR T cell) therapy.  CAR T cells are engineered from a patient’s own T cell, to recognise and attack cancer cells. We are designing and testing CAR T cells directed against adult and paediatric brain tumours. We are also investigating how to best activate T cells to allow for tailored immune responses to solid tumours.

The biological understanding and development of new immunotherapies has undergone a revolution in the past decade. Our research will provide insights into T cell biology and we anticipate that our research will ultimately reveal enhanced strategies for targeting tumour antigens in the brain, to treat patients clinically.

 

Carrie Bickmore and Misty Jenkins

Funding from Carrie Bickmore’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer Foundation is helping to advance immunotherapy treatments