february, 2021

thu18feb4:00 pm5:00 pmEvent OverVirtual EventHarnessing the immune system to fight disease: Getting it to attack the body's enemies, and not its friends4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Program:ThursdaySeries:Precision Medicine

Event Details

On the 3rd week of each month, the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences invites inventors, scientists, and entrepreneurs to share lessons learned from taking ideas from the lab to the marketplace.

University of MO-Columbia researchers Haval Shirwan and Esma Yolcu will present new therapeutics and technology to prevent cancer and improve the safety of bone marrow transplants often used in cancer treatment. 

Haval Shirwan will discuss the development of a biologic that uses the immune system to prevent cancer in high-risk individuals. Esma Yolcu will discuss a technology that has the potential to improve bone marrow transplants by preventing Graft-vs-Host Disease, a deadly disease that is a major risk factor of these transplants.


Haval Shirwan, PhD
Professor, Molecular Microbiology & Immunology
University of Missouri, Columbia

Dr. Shirwan’s translational research program targets the immune system for modulation with particular focus on cancer immunoprevention and immunotherapy, transplantation, autoimmunity, and vaccinology. Shirwan co-pioneered with Dr. Esma S. Yolcu a proprietary platform technology, ProtEx™, that allows for the generation of novel recombinant immune ligands and their positional and transient display as single agents or in combination on biological surfaces as a practical and safe alternative to gene therapy for localized immunomodulation. Dr. Shirwan is also assessing various vehicles, including live bacterial vectors and biomaterials, for targeted delivery of biologics to modulate immune effector and regulatory cells for therapeutic outcomes. Three lead therapeutic candidates have shown efficacy for the prevention and treatment of type 1 diabetes and cancer in preclinical models and presently being pursued for clinical development. Dr. Shirwan’s research has continuously been funded by federal and nonfederal funding agencies.

Esma Yolcu, PhD
Professor, Child Health Development, Molecular Microbiology & Immunology
University of Missouri, Columbia

Dr. Yolcu has significant interest in using hematopoietic stem cells as a powerful scheme for immunomodulation with main focus on the treatment of autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, and allograft rejection as well as bone marrow failure syndrome and hematological malignancies. Imperative to these efforts is a platform technology, ProtEx™, co-pioneered by Dr. Yolcu that allows for; i) the generation of novel immune ligands having robust immune-stimulatory or suppressive functions, and ii) the transient display of these ligands, individually or in combination, on biological and non-biological surfaces for localized immunomodulation. The platform technology has been patent-protected world-wide.


(Thursday) 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


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Washington University School of Medicine

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