2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Biology
Mentor: Irving Weissman (Pathology & Developmental Biology)

“Recognition and Phagocytosis of Cancer Cells by Macrophages”

Humans have developed specialized defense mechanisms to detect and remove old, damaged and harmful cells from the body to maintain homeostasis. Macrophages are responsible for one such mechanism, phagocytosis: the process of detecting and engulfing unwanted material, including cancer cells. The protein Calreticulin (CRT) has been implicated as an important pro-phagocytic “eat-me” signal in various human cancers that is secreted by macrophages to label target cells. In this project, the Weissman lab and Allison will work towards a comprehensive understanding of mechanisms through which macrophages shift to promote CRT expression and secretion to understand phagocytosis and apply it to the development of new therapeutic strategies for life-altering diseases.