Laboratory of
Maurizio Zanetti
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The Laboratory of Immunology
UCSD Moores Cancer Center

The laboratory investigates the immune system and way to manipulate the immune response in distinct but interrelated areas of investigations. These include fate determination of memory T cells; the impact of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the ER stress response and functional characteristics of immune cells, and modular genetic programming in cell-based vaccines.

We are using immunochemical and cellular immunology tools, together with molecular biology and gene analysis techniques, to investigate the nature of selected aspects of the immune response and, contextually, develop principle-based new ways to regulate the immune response against cancer and viral pathogens.

In the past decade, the laboratory has made discoveries in all of these areas such as the development of the first physiological, genetically programmable, cell-based method to immunize against cancer cells and pathogens; the discovery of a new immunological principle, the cooperative interaction between two CD4 T cells; the discovery of the immunogenicity of telomerase reverse transcriptase in humans defining the chemical characteristics of what can be regarded as the first universal tumor antigen; and the unexpected discovery that endoplasmic reticulum stress is transmissible from tumor cells to myeloid cells.

These accomplishments form the basis of continuing efforts to develop rational strategies to generate immune responses that protect against cancer and viral pathogens, or mitigate the deleterious effects cancer cells have on the body’s immune defenses.

Maurizio Zanetti
Director of the Laboratory of Immunology
Director Immunology Course for Graduate Students (Biomedical Science Program)
Director of Tumor Immunology - UCSD Institute for Immunology, Inflammation and Infection

Contemporary Interests