Mehrotra named co-leader of Cancer Biology and Immunology research program at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

January 17, 2024
Dr. Shikhar Mehrotra stands outside
Dr. Shikhar Mehrotra has a research focus on targeting T-cell signaling and metabolic pathways to improve adoptive T-cell therapy for cancer. File photo

Shikhar Mehrotra, Ph.D., professor of surgery and Cecilia and Vincent Peng Endowed Chair in melanoma and cutaneous oncology, will take on the role of co-leader of the Cancer Biology and Immunology research program at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center alongside Philip Howe, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Sophie Paczesny, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

Researchers at Hollings work under the umbrella of one of three research programs: Cancer Control, Developmental Cancer Therapeutics and Cancer Biology and Immunology. Cancer Biology and Immunology (CBI) is a relatively recent consolidation of the Cancer Biology program and the Cancer Immunology program, and Mehrotra said he’s eager to continue the integration of these two disciplines that complement each other so well.

As cancer biologists figure out the mechanisms of cancer growth and take their findings into the clinic, they must be aware of possible immunological mechanisms. Mehrotra anticipates seeing more collaborations and multi-PI projects that will take such a holistic view, which should in turn make projects more translational to patients.

“Everybody's realizing that we need to have more cross talk – which is already happening through different mechanisms, but I think this would bring it even more together,” he said.

“I will undoubtedly play that role during presentations and one-on-one meetings with CBI program members to see what can be done to advance their projects and improve their immunological understanding. This will not only help advance knowledge on how any of the approaches are engaging the immune system but also give us a more robust argument when we bring them to the clinics.”

In addition to his new role as co-leader of CBI, Mehrotra is the scientific director of the Center for Cellular Therapy, an FDA-registered cGMP level facility, and serves on the MUSC College of Medicine Research Oversight Committee.