CRI Funded Scientists

Arja Ray, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

University of California, San Francisco

Area of Research: All Cancers

Despite impressive successes, checkpoint immunotherapy still remains ineffective in most cancer patients, and we don’t always know why. Therefore, Dr. Ray is combining two important tools—real-time microscopy and RNA sequencing—in order to improve our understanding of the dynamics of the relationship between tumors and the immune system.

Specifically, Dr. Ray hopes to capture the interactions of T cells with other cells as they happen in the body, so he can identify and define the T cells that are capable of killing cancer cells within tumors as well as mark these specific T cells to determine their molecular identifiers. Then he will validate the important molecular players identified through studies with animal models and by utilizing UCSF’s growing in-house database of patient samples across multiple cancer types, in addition to publicly available clinical datasets. Overall, his proposed work aims to define the key biological pathways that support T cell function and test their relevance for human cancer treatment and ultimately find more effective ways to treat cancer by harnessing our immune system.

Projects and Grants

Defining the phenotypic landscape of functional CD8 T cells in solid tumors

University of California, San Francisco | All Cancers | 2020 | Matthew F. Krummel, PhD

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