Understanding Immune Hubs to Improve Immunotherapy

Our Research

Our lab studies the cellular interactions that shape immune responses in human tumors, focusing on how these responses are regulated. Using a combination of large-scale genomic analyses and tissue imaging approaches, we have identified hubs in tumor tissues where tumor cells come into close contact with immune cells. By characterizing the cells in these hubs, and the gene networks that are turned on in these cells, our lab aims to uncover novel ways to harness the immune system in the fight against cancer.

Our Partners

Our People

We are a brand new lab located at the Gladstone Institutes in sunny Mission Bay looking for passionate students and postdoctoral fellows to join us in our mission to decode the cellular interaction networks that shape immune responses in human tumors. We are excited to grow into a cross-disciplinary, collaborative and diverse lab that includes clinicians, immunologists, geneticists, cancer researchers, and computational biologists.

Media Highlights

Juggling Motherhood and Science
Cancer Immunologist Karin Pelka Joins Gladstone Institutes
Researchers discover immune cell “hubs” hiding in tumors
SU2C Peggy Prescott Early Career Scientist Award in Colorectal Cancer Research
Stand Up to Cancer Awards $1.1 Million in Grants to Research Teams
Faith Fight Finish Foundation Gala
‘Goodness, I’m getting emotional’: How Cowboys QB Dak Prescott brought Jerry Jones to tears at gala
Stand Up to Cancer Grants First Peggy Prescott Award in Colorectal Cancer Research

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Recent Lab News

June 2023

The Pelka Lab had the pleasure of attending the 2023 Genomic Immunology Institute Retreat along with many other labs from GIGI! Karin was also invited to the 2023 Arthur and Sandra Irving Cancer Immunology Symposium in Boston towards the end of the month.

July 2023

Two new lovely members joined the lab: Han Chen and Nils Asmann. Welcome, both! Nils was also awarded a PROMOS scholarship, and Anna and Alisa were awarded two Symbiont Seed grants. Congrats to all three of our members!

August 2023

Karin was invited to attend and speak at the Cell Symposium: The Conceptual Power of Single Cell Biology in San Diego late this month! In lab member news, Sara started her thesis, and Alisa officially gained her postdoc title. An exciting month for the Pelka Lab!