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Meet a SLU Researcher: Richard J. DiPaolo, Ph.D.

11/22/2021

Richard J. DiPaolo, Ph.D., is Professor and Interim Chair of the Dept. of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and he discusses how immunotherapies currently and in the future play a key role in combating human diseases.

'Science Junkie'

"I'm a science junkie, so summer vacation for me is getting to spend more time in the lab," DiPaolo said.  "I really love training students — Ph.D. students, M.D./Ph.D. students, and undergrads — and I get a lot of joy out of seeing them succeed in the next step of their careers. So our research program is pretty diverse.

Research

"The immune system plays a role in just about every aspect of human health and disease," DiPaolo said. "And many of the therapies that are being developed in the last decade — and that will be developed in the next decade — are going to be through manipulation of the immune system. So it's just a very broad area with lots of therapeutic applications."

Immunology 

"It makes it very exciting to work in. Immunology has now become the target for the next cancer therapies," DiPaolo said. "So immunotherapies now in cancer are to try to train your immune system to fight the cancer and replace some of the chemotherapeutic drugs.

"So my lab has a program to understand how inflammation causes gastric cancer. If you can catch it earlier, you can treat it earlier. Then you can develop new strategies to stop it."

Working at SLU

"SLU has been a great place to do this because it's a very collaborative environment," DiPaolo said. "I think of diseases from an immunological perspective, but I get a lot of other perspectives from pharmacologists, physiologists, biochemists, and the more minds you have thinking about a disease, the better perspective you get on how to develop treatments for those diseases. So the highly collaborative environment of SLU has helped make my research program very successful."

Meet the Researcher Video Series

This is part of a weekly series of short videos featuring faculty researchers from across the University sharing the important and cutting-edge research taking place at SLU. 

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