Stephanie Dorta, PhD

Interplay between microbial and immune cells in HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer

The main goals of my laboratory are to characterize the immune mechanisms involved in tumor development, metastasis,and treatment to uncover new therapeutic targets and improve survivalof patients with HNSCC. As a basic and translational immunology researcher, I have focused on characterizing immune mechanisms modulating the pathogenesis of different diseases such as HIV, autoimmune diseases,and cancer. During my postdoctoral fellowship, I developed research projects that involved thepre-clinical testing of immunotherapy combinations for HPV-related cancers, as well as identifying immune correlates for treatment efficacy by using multiparametric flow cytometry. Also, groundwork projects were developed to study the interrelationship between the gut microbiome and immune responses in cervical cancer. Now as an assistant professor at the UPR Medical Sciences Campus with a joint appointmentat the UPR Comprehensive Cancer Center (UPRCCC) and with Dr. Filipa Godoy, a Microbial Ecologist, we have the goal to integrate the analysis of the microbiome and immune system to have a better understanding of biological processes. Importantly, the role of the oral microbiome on intratumoral immune responses and treatment efficacy in HPV+ oropharyngealcancer have been poorly studied.