Jorge Luis Galeano Nino, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center In colorectal cancer (CRC), malignant cells are surrounded by a complex microenvironment encompassing a range of non-transformed cells and a diverse collection of microorganisms. CRC is the second most frequent cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States, and it is refractory to current chemotherapies and immunotherapies. Increasing evidence has indicated an important role of the tumor-associated bacteria and the onset and development of CRC; however how these microorganisms interact with malignant cells and other elements of the tumor microenvironment (TME) such as the immune system in the tumor sample isolated from CRC patients is still unexplored. To answer this question, Dr. Galeano Nino is developing new techniques that allow for the mapping of the spatial distribution of tumoral bacteria and the corresponding impact in the expression of molecules that are involved in the immune response against cancer cells. By using this approach, Dr. Galeano Nino has found that tumoral bacteria is localized in specific regions along the tumor tissue, which are characterized to be highly immunosuppressive attenuating the functionality of the immune cells that are responsible to eliminate cancer cells such as T cells. By isolating individual components of the TME he aims to understand the mechanism by which different microorganisms can alter the T cell response by implementing controlled experiments. Therefore the overall goal of this study is to understand the crosstalk between the tumor microbiota and the immune system in the tumor tissue to harness the mechanisms behind these interactions with the purpose to develope new treatments and improve prognosis in CRC patients. Projects and Grants Mapping the tumor-associated microbiota and its influence in shaping the immune landscape in colorectal cancer Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center | Colorectal Cancer | 2022 | Susan Bullman, Ph.D.