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

Stay Updated

Keep up-to-date with the latest research from the Pelka lab.

Don't know anything about football, but @dak is indeed a truly incredible and fun person! Still ...endlessly grateful to him and the @FFFfoundation4 for the #SU2C Peggy Prescott Award for Colorectal Cancer research! It had such a huge impact on my science and career path!

Awesome work as always, congrats @mgentili_ !!

So inspired after meeting @carlhjune and the Whiteheads at the #SU2CSummit2023 and so grateful to ...@SU2C and all donors for enabling amazing and much needed cross-disciplinary research to keep pushing the boundaries!

Recent Lab News

January 2023

Three new lovely members joined the lab: Sara Misiukiewicz, Jodi Lee, and Scott Engels. Welcome, all! Karin also had the pleasure of attending the SU2C Summit in San Diego. An exciting month for the Pelka Lab!

December 2022

Karin presented at UCSF’s Division of Experimental Medicine (DEM) Seminar Series.

November 2022

Karin served as the anchor speaker for the Cancer Immunology section of the IgEquity symposium. As an avid supporter of gender equity, Karin was delighted to partake in the conference!