Irving Lab members

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Wilson CASTRO
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Research associate
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Research interest

My expertise lies in project management, in vivo mouse models for immuno-oncology, infectious diseases, and inflammation. As a member of Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab, I leverage partnerships and collaborations within and outside the institute, and am committed to mentoring students and research fellows in research methodology. I received the Pfizer Research Prize in 2019.

Background

I studied microbiology at the University of Antioquia and performed my master’s thesis project at Harvard Medical School. From 2012 to 2017, I carried out my PhD work on NK cell-mediated immunity at the University of Lausanne’s Department of Biochemistry. In 2018, I joined Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group.

David CHARBONNIER
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Background

I obtained my degree in Biotechnology with Genetics, Microbiology, and Biotech Engineering at the Paris-Sud University in 2013. I received a technicians diploma in Biology Engineering at Saint-Etienne IUT and an international technological diploma in Almeria. I worked from 2013 to 2021 on many projects within the Príncipe Felipe Research Center for cancer treatments in Spain and joined Dr Melita Irving's group in the laboratory of Pr George Coukos in 2021.

Elisabetta CRIBIOLI
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Research interest

I am a tumor immunologist working on the development of next generation chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) T cell therapies. Our goal is to develop novel co-engineering strategies that can specifically optimise the safety and metabolic fitness of T cells targeting solid tumors including melanoma, prostate and ovarian cancer.

Background

I obtained my Master’s in Medical Biotechnologies at the University of Milan-Bicocca in 2011. From 2012 to 2014 I worked as a research technologist at the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility at Abramson Cancer Centre of the University of Pennsylvania supporting phase I and II clinical trials in cancer in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) laboratory, under FDA regulatory requirements. I graduated in 2019 with a thesis entitled “Novel gene-engineering strategies to direct and enhance T cell activity against solid tumors” and undertook my postgraduate studies in the “Cancer and Immunology Program” at the University of Lausanne, in Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab.

Hélène GARCIA
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Technician
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I completed my studies in Life Sciences and worked on the development of  CAR-T cells during both my bachelor’s and master’s thesis. Being in Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab has given me the opportunity to continue working in the field of gene therapy with the aim of curing different types of cancer.

Mauricio de GARCIA
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Greta GIORDANO ATTIANESE
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Research interest

My research interests are in the development of function and safety enhanced ON/OFF-switch CARs as well as the optimization of gene-engineering strategies such as by CRISPR-Cas9 for the clinical translation of tumor-directed T-cell products.

Background

I did my Master’s in Medical Biotechnology in Milan before undertaking a one-year internship at Texas Children’s hospital to learn about CAR-T cell technologies. On returning to Italy, I pursued a PhD in immunology. I undertook my postdoctoral studies in Switzerland in genomics and epigenetics after which I took up my position as Research associate in Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab.

Morteza HAFEZI
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Research interest

In our group, we pursue innovative ways to improve TCR T cell therapy for clinical application. As a PhD student in the T cell engineering group of Dr Melita Irving in the laboratory of Pr George Cuokos, my focus will be on improving the safety and efficacy of currently available therapeutic TCR T cell therapy.  

Background

During my studies in Singapore, I became very interested in translational immunology. I pursued my passion for working in T cell immunotherapy at Duke-NUS medical school. During my research at Duke, I worked on developing a new generation of Armored TCR T cells for treating liver transplant patients with recurrent cancer.

Cheryl JEANNERET
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Research interest

I’ve always been interested in understanding how the immune system functions. I’m now glad to be part of a team working to find innovative techniques to fight cancer.

Background

I did my Bachelor’s in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Fribourg and continued with a Master’s in Medical Biology – specialising in immunology and oncology, at the University of Lausanne.

Cristina JIMENEZ
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Research interest

My research focuses on understanding how the tumor and its microenvironment negatively affect the immune system in order to use this knowledge to find therapeutic strategies capable of overcoming these limitations.

Background

I studied biological sciences at the University of Córdoba. I then joined the Master’s program in Regenerative Medicine of the University of Granada, where I continued my doctoral studies. During my PhD, my research focused on cancer molecular biology, investigating potential tumor biomarkers detectable in liquid biopsy and mechanisms of resistance and tumor promotion in different types of cancer. In October 2018, I joined Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab as a postdoctoral researcher.

Paraskevas KOSTI
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Research interest

My research focus is on tumor immunology and synthetic biology strategies to harness the immune system to fight cancer. I am currently working on developing new gene-engineering strategies to enhance T cell immunotherapies for solid cancers.

Background

I have been working in the field of CAR T cell immunotherapy since 2014 when I first joined the CAR T cell team at the University College, London Cancer Institute as a Master’s student. I subsequently undertook my PhD at King’s College, London developing and validating a novel CAR T cell immunotherapy approach to specifically activate CAR T cells within the TME­­—an approach that can potentially open CAR T cell therapy to previously difficult-to-target solid tumors.  I have been involved in various academia and industry CAR/TCR projects and I am fascinated to see the potential of these living immunotherapies to be used to efficiently treat cancer patients.

Evripidis LANITIS
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Research interest

I am currently working on the development of diverse approaches to establish novel T cell engineering and combinatorial strategies for improving personalized cancer immunotherapies targeting solid tumors.

Background

I am originally from Cyprus and completed my Bachelor’s in the Molecular Biology and Genetics department of the University of Thrace, Greece. I obtained my PhD from the University of Thrace and the University of Pennsylvania. During my PhD, I trained in the field of gene-engineering of primary human T cells with tumor-directed CARs and TCRs. Following my PhD, I undertook my postdoctoral training at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research of the University of Lausanne. In the course of my postdoc, I developed universal and highly reproducible methods for gene-engineering of primary mouse T cells and I evaluated the potency of next generation CAR-T cells combined with several immunotherapeutic approaches in immunocompetent mice. I have been a research associate in Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab since 2018.

Amandine MORIOT
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Jennifer MURRAY
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Research interest

I am interested in the constantly advancing field of cancer research and enjoy having an active technical support role in high-impact research and clinical translation. My focus is on lab management, training, animal welfare and the 3R’s for the in vivo studies carried out within the lab.

Background

I am a Registered Veterinary Technician and Registered Laboratory Animal Technician with CALAS/ACSAL in Canada. I began working in comparative biology and medicine in 2008 at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, eventually transitioning to University of Toronto in 2011. In 2014 I moved to the UK and worked for the Department of Agriculture at Newcastle University, then transitioned to managing the primate neuroscience surgical theatre in 2016. In 2019, I joined Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab as a Laboratory Technician and Laboratory manager.

Yaquelin ORTIZ MIRANDA
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Research interest

The focus of my research is to optimize T cell differentiation, metabolic reprogramming and cell death resistance in order to enhance T cell fitness and anti-tumor properties for adoptive cell therapy. I am passionate about understanding the transcriptomic and epigenomic regulation of T cell differentiation/metabolic states and how can we translate this knowledge into potent anti-tumor therapies.

Background

I joined Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab in 2018 for one year as a Swiss Government Scholarship of Excellence fellow before starting the PhD program in 2019. My background is in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Havana. For my Master’s I focused on immunology and joined industry laboratories focusing on protein engineering for cancer immunotherapy. Initially, I joined Pr Kalet Leon’s Laboratory at the Centre for molecular immunology, Havana and focused on understanding and modulating regulatory T cells’ suppressive function to enhance endogenous CD8+T cell response against murine solid tumors. I then collaborated with Pr Mario Pablo Estrada’s Laboratory at the Centre for genetic engineering and biotechnology, Havana to develop next-generation fusion proteins (antibody-cytokines) as immunomodulatory agents for immunotherapy. Overall, I have gained work experience in the fields of immunology, cancer, adoptive cell therapy, protein engineering, recombinant protein expression systems and genetic engineering of bacterial and mammalian cells.

Khaoula OUCHEN
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Scholarship student
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Research interest

My research is currently focusing on studying and manipulating the systems biology of engineered T cells to improve cancer immunotherapy using combinatorial approaches.

Background

For my Bachelor’s degree I studied biology with specialization in biochemistry-genetics and microbiology at the Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FST) of Settat in Morocco (2012-2015). I  performed my bachelor’s thesis at the laboratory of cellular immunology at the National Institute of Hygiène, Rabat where I investigated the immune cell compartment in immunodeficient children diagnosed with tuberculosis. I then pursued my Master’s studies in bioengineering, including a one-year ERASMUS exchange at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, during which  I performed a six-month internship studying innate immune responses upon leishmania infection as well as my Master’s thesis focusing on colorectal cancer (2015- 2017). I joined Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab as a Swiss Government Scholarship of Excellence PhD fellow in August 2018.

Laetitia PERICOU
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Research interest

I am interested in the development of targeted therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

Background

My background is the fields of molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, immunology and animal experimentation. I completed my thesis in the Alzheimer and Tauopathies group at the Lille Neuroscience and Cognition Research Centre in France. I subsequently worked in the Neuropathy and Neuromodulation laboratory of Pr Nicole Déglon at the CHUV and the group of Dr Olivier Dormond in the Department of Visceral Surgery. I joined Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab in 2021.

Julien PUJOL
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Technician
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Research interest

I am part of the clinical translation team. My role is to help transition novel engineered T-cell strategies developed in Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab to the GMP facility for patient treatment.

Background 

After graduating from Marseille Luminy, I worked in several labs in France covering broad fields of biology: genetics, development, metabolism and cellular biology. In Switzerland, I was part of the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences working in the field of diabetes and obesity before joining the T cell engineering group.

Patrick REICHENBACH
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Technician
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Kirsten SCHOLTEN
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CONTACT ME

Research interest

My interest is to engineer T cells to CARs or TCRs to target tumors or to express molecules that can reprogram the tumor microenvironment. Getting these gene-engineered T cells to the clinic to treat patients suffering from cancer is my focus.

Background

I did my PhD at the Vrije Universiteit where I graduated in 2010 on T cell receptor gene transfer for the treatment of HPV induced cancers. After my PhD, I started a postdoc position on gamma-delta TCR gene transfer at the University of Utrecht and in 2013, I moved to Lausanne to start working as a postdoc within Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab. Since early 2021, I am working on clinical translation.

Bili SEIJO
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Research interest

I am interested in the design of DNA constructs for in vitro/in vivo experiments as well as in the production of recombinant proteins (cytokines, decoys, mutants).

Background

My background is in molecular biology, biochemistry, structural biology. I gained my University Diploma in Technology in bioengineering at l’Université de Créteil in 1998 and worked at the CNRS before joining Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab at the University of Lausanne in 2016.

Aikaterini SEMILIETOF
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Research interests

The focus of my research is the development of T cells engineered to express rationally optimised tumor-directed TCRs, as well as of novel safety strategies to prevent/control potential off-site, treatment-related toxicities in patients.

Background

After my undergraduate studies in molecular biology and genetics at the Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, I obtained my PhD on the generation of improved humanized mouse models for evaluating cancer immunotherapies in Pr George Coukos’ lab at the University of Lausanne. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics in the group of Prs Zoete and Michielin, working under the supervision of Dr Irving in the T-cell engineering group in the laboratory of Pr George Coukos.

Aodrenn SPILL
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Research interest

My expertise is in in-vivo, cellular and molecular biology. I am interested in the identification and validation of novel cancer immunotherapies and analysing immune infiltrate upon treatment of  different tumor models.

Background

I previously worked for the Centre Georges-François Leclerc, Dijon and joined Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab in 2018 as a laboratory technician.

Evangelos STEFANIDIS
Irving Lab Evangelos Stefanidis_4800-crop2187x2399.jpg Research associate
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Research interest

The focus of my current work is the generation of tumor-specific armored T cells for improving adoptive T cell transfer strategies, using advanced cell engineering tools. These armored T cells have been equipped with membrane-bound and/or soluble therapeutic agents, and endowed with improved immuno-stimulatory properties and superior anti-tumor activity.

Background

I completed my undergraduate studies in molecular biology and genetics at the Democritus University of Thrace and I joined Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab for my postgraduate studies. I am currently finishing my PhD in the field of cancer immunotherapy at the University of Lausanne, under the supervision of Dr Irving.

Melanie TRIBOULET
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Technician
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Research interest

I joined Dr Melita Irving’s group in the laboratory of Pr Georges Coukos in 2021 to work on the development of engineered T cells for cancer immunotherapy.

Background

After completing my Master’s degree in Biological Engineering at the Polytech Clermont-Ferrand in France in 2015, I joined Pr Jeffrey’s lab at Stanford University  as a Research Assistant. While at Stanford I was involved in a collaboration with a start-up company called Vortex Biosciences and worked on validating Vortex CTC isolation technology. Subsequently, from 2017 to 2021, I was employed as a Research Engineer and Scientific Writer in the field of preclinical studies in immuno-oncology at Transcure Bioservices in France.

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Romain VUILLEFROY DE SILLY
Irving Lab Romain Vuillefroy de Silly-crop2096x2184.jpg Postdoctoral researcher
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Research interest

I am interested in the study of fundamental immunology (especially immune cell physiology) and molecular biology, and to challenge (old) dogmas/paradigms. My research focus includes the exploration of basic chemical/physical properties (e.g. oxygen tensions, pH, redox), cell signalling, metabolism, and gene-engineering approaches linked to optimise immune responses.

Background

I completed my PhD, exploring how cysteine metabolism impacts immune response to transplantation in 2011 at INSERM, France. I started a postdoc in 2012 at the University of Geneva to decipher how low oxygen fractions found in the tumor microenvironment impacts the anti-tumor CD8+ T-cell response. I joined Melita Irving’s T cell engineering group in Pr George Coukos’ lab in 2016 with the aim of delineating how low pH/acidity disturbs the anti-tumor CD8+ T-cell response: the ultimate goal is to improve cancer immunotherapy efficacy by rendering CD8+ T cells resistant to acidity via gene engineering.

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CONTACT

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Melita IRVING
Group leader
Human integrated tumor immunology discovery engine (Hi-TIDe)

Department of oncology UNIL CHUV
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Lausanne

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Phone +41 21 692 59 61
Fax +41 21 692 59 95
E-mail

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The Irving Lab is based at:

Biopôle
Ch. des Boveresses 155
CH-1066 Epalinges
Switzerland

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Ch. des Boveresses 155 - CH-1066 Epalinges
Switzerland
Tel. +41 21 692 59 92
Fax +41 21 692 59 95
Ludwig Cancer Research Université de Lausanne Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV)