Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Harper Cancer Research Institute
University of Notre Dame

2013

December

New graduate student Tim Riley joins the lab. Welcome Tim!

Cancer immunotherapy is Science magazine’s breakthrough of the year! The game is changing, and you’re watching it happen…

More press for cancer immunotherapy at Scientific American.

Not to be outdone by Science, Nature has a massive Outlook on cancer immunotherapy. Bring it on!

October

New grant from Trinity Healthcare to kick off our new collaboration with Stephanie Watkins at Loyola University. The goals are to study protein-protein interactions that may promote tumor escape from immune destruction.

Graduate students Yuan Wang and Nishant Singh pass their ARP exams. Congratulations to both!

August

New Journal of Biological Chemistry paper showing how peptides alter the flexibility of the MHC protein. Implications for immune recognition, including pathogen escape mechanisms and the design of vaccines.

Another new paper, this time in the Journal of Molecular Biology. Continuing our work with David Kranz at UIUC, this shows how TCR germline loops can adapt to engage crucial regions on the MHC protein. Implications for the determinants of MHC restriction.

July

New paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry describing the thermodynamic origins of T cell receptor specificity. Part of our ongoing collaboration with Andy Sewell and David Cole at Cardiff University.

June

New paper in Nature Communications. Thanks to Kurt’s Piepenbrink’s heroic efforts with double mutant cycles, we are able to show how energy is distributed in a T cell receptor – peptide/MHC interface. For the first time, we are able to fully explain the physical origins of cross-reactivity and MHC restriction for a single TCR.

New paper in Frontiers in Immunology describing the structural properties of an enhanced-affinity T cell receptor. More fun with the guys at Cardiff.

May

New NIH grant with Zhiping Weng at the University of Massachusetts to study the structure-based design of T cell receptors. Thanks to the NIH and some friendly reviewers!

Good news for cancer immunotherapy reported on CNN.