Alexandra G. Moyzis, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow Salk Institute T cells are part of the adaptive immune response and play a critical role in killing cancer cells. However, because T cells are continuously activated in the tumor microenvironment, they eventually become less responsive and effective. This dysfunctional or ‘exhausted’ state limits immunotherapy responses and is a major challenge in developing cancer therapeutics. The specific factors that contribute to this loss of function are still being delineated, but there is increasing evidence that mitochondria play a role. Mitochondria provide the cell with energy, but defects in mitochondrial function can also contribute to reduced T cell efficacy. Therefore, Dr. Moyzis will manipulate specific mitochondrial pathways in order to maintain T cell activity. Dr. Moyzis’ project will provide an important opportunity to target mitochondria to augment T cell activity and improve cancer immunotherapy. Targeting mitochondria to combat T cell exhaustion and improve anti-cancer immune responses Salk Institute for Biological Studies | All Cancers | 2022 | Gerald Shadel, Ph.D.