Dr Olivia Burn received her PhD from the University of Otago under the supervision of Dr Robert Weinkove and within the Cancer Immunotherapy programme at the Malaghan Institute. Her thesis was centred around the innate-like T cell populations natural killer T (NKT) cells and Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells and how these can be harnessed to enhance cancer vaccine effectiveness, with a particular focus on breast cancer.
Read more about her research here.
Vaccine effectiveness requires multiple activation signals directed to antigen presenting cells (APCs) to provoke robust activation of T-cells upon antigen recognition. I am interested in how NKT cells provide these signals to APCs and whether the location of NKT cells within the body influences the types of infectious diseases or cancers they can help treat.
My current work involves investigating the NKT cell and CD8+ T cell phenotypes induced by various glycolipid-peptide conjugate vaccines designed in collaboration with Prof Gavin Painter’s laboratory at the Ferrier Research Institute.