Team Science Awardees

Current Awardees

Sphingolipid Metabolism in T-Cell Immunity and Cancer Immunotherapy

Besim Ogretmen 

Besim Ogretmen, Ph.D.

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Principle Investigator

Dr. Xue-Zhong Yu 

Xue-Zhong Yu, M.D.

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Principle Investigator

Shikhar Mehrotra 

Shikhar Mehrotra, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Surgery
Co-Investigator

This team science project is designed to advance our understanding of the link between sphingolipid metabolism, T-cell immunobiology, and immunotherapy. The overall objective of this project is to define the roles and mechanistic actions of ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) in regulating T-cell bioenergetics and T-cell receptor signaling in anti-cancer immunotherapy, aging-related immune dysfunction, and transplantation.

Head and Neck Cancer Pre-SPORE

Besim Ogretmen 

Besim Ogretmen, Ph.D.

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

terry day 

Terry Day, M.D.

Professor, Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

The goal of the researchers’ multidisciplinary head and neck cancer team science project is to provide basic and clinical knowledge of head and neck cancer diagnosis, treatment, and control. They propose studies related to cancer metabolism, cell cycle regulation, and immunotherapy to reduce head and neck squamous cell carcinoma disparities and improve the clinical outcome for patients with this disease.

This team science program contains three main projects, led by Ogretmen and Day, in addition to other Hollings cancer researchers David Neskey, M.D., Chrystal Paulos, Ph.D., Marvella Ford, Ph.D., and Evan Graboyes, M.D. The proposed experiments will provide preliminary data to undergird the researchers’ Head and Neck Cancer SPORE (specialized programs of research excellence) application that will be submitted to the NIH in 2021.

Previous Awardees

Chrystal Paulos 

Chrystal Paulos, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Project: Rejuvenating T Cells for Treatment of Lung Cancer

Matthew Carpenter 

Matthew Carpenter, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Project: Translational Science to Innovate Smoking Cessations Interventions Through Enhancement of Self-Regulation