Christof Smith receives the D. Gordon Sharp Graduate Innovator Award

Congratulations to Christof Smith, winner of the 2017 D. Gordon Sharp Graduate Innovator Award. In his dissertation work in Jon Serody's lab, Christof has been developing approaches to exploit neoantigens for anti-tumor therapy. Tumor neoantigens newly arise from mutations in tumor cells and therefore are recognized as foreign by the immune system, facilitating immunotherapy. Christof's research combines bioinformatics and computational biology to predict potential neoantigens, which are then experimentally evaluated for ability to provoke an immune response. Candidate neoantigen peptides are incorporated into nanoparticle vaccines, and efficacy is evaluated in mouse tumor models in conjunction with established therapies that utilize the innate and/or adaptive immune systems. Christof has demonstrated innovation by developing and improving both computational and experimental methods, as well as integrating approaches from multiple disciplines toward the goal of patient specific cancer vaccines.