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Stephen Ferris, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology


Ph.D.: Washington University in St. Louis

Postdoctoral Training: Washington University in St. Louis

Research Interests

Our goal is to understand the fundamental processes that drive immune responses in the conext of self antigens. Our lab focuses on how an immune response is generated against cancer self "neoantigens" and why these immune responses fail to reject tumors in many patients. On the other hand, our lab researches the aberrant immune responses generated during autoimmune conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes. We have found that there are similar requirements to mount an autoimmune response as there are to mount a cancer immune response. Our lab focuses on the basic mechanisms that drive each and ways to inhibit autoimmunty and augment the cancer immune response. We use multiple models of genetic manipulation to ask fundamental immunological questions during autoimmune and cancer immune processes. 

Our approaches involve the use of transgenic and knock out mouse models, CRISPR-targeted genetic manipulation, overexpression of desired genes, and flow cytometry. We use NOD mice and tumor cell lines to investigate the basic immune responses to self antigens in vivo and in vitro and use a combination of immune cell-based assays to interrogate function. Overall, our focus is on understanding basic immunological processes with the goal of optimizing cancer immune responses and inhibiting auto-immunity.