Julian Smazynski, is a PhD Candidate at the BC Cancer Deeley Research Centre. Julian completed his BSc (Hons) in microbiology at the University of Victoria in the lab of Dr. Julian Lum, where he then transferred to the lab of Dr. Brad Nelson to pursue a PhD in Cancer Immunotherapy. His main research interest centres on the exclusion of immune infiltration in “cold” tumor microenvironments and designing novel cell engineering strategies to enhance immunotherapy against solid cancers. For his PhD thesis, Julian has found that the checkpoint TIGIT ligand, CD155 (Polio virus receptor), is over-expressed in ovarian cancer, especially those that are resistant to T cell infiltration. This work has led to the development of a novel genetic engineering strategy to convert the TIGIT/CD155 pathway from an inhibitory ‘off switch’ to a co-stimulatory ‘on switch’, thereby super-charging the T cell response against ovarian cancer. He is also involved in several projects focused on designing combinatorial approaches aimed at bridging oncolytic virus and cell based strategies.

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