University of Minnesota
MICaB Graduate Program
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Current Students

Upasana Arvindam

Thesis Advisor: Jeff Miller

Year entered: 2016

Degrees received:
B.S., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 2014
MSc, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany 2016

Honors and awards:

  • $1000 award to attend NSF workshop on Crowdsourcing Innovation

Thesis Research:

My projects are focused on developing NK cell based cancer immunotherapy. Our lab has shown success in designing bispecific (BiKE) and trispecific (TriKE) antibodies that activate NK cells against acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) targets. These antibodies are specific for tumor antigens and activate NK cells to kill target cells by harnessing their natural cytotoxic abilities. I am developing TriKEs against leukemia stem cells and ovarian cancer targets.

I am also interested in functionality and metabolism of NK cells in the tumor microenvironment. A second project focuses on understanding how different factors in the tumor microenvironment affect NK cell functionality. To address this question, I will be looking at soluble factors secreted by tumor cells and other cells in the microenvironment, nutrient availability and physical conditions such as hypoxia.