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Daniel  Abate-Daga

Daniel Abate-Daga

Daniel Abate-Daga
Assistant Professor


Office: MRC 2E 2067G
Phone: 813-745-4673


Ph.D.: Centre for Genomic Regulation and Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain), 2009
Postdoctoral Fellowship: National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, Maryland, 2009-2014


The research focus of our group is the development and validation of novel immunotherapies for cancer, involving the adoptive transfer of autologous T cells. T cells can be genetically manipulated, ex vivo, to express immune receptors that allow them to identify and destroy tumor cells without damaging healthy tissues. These can be conventional T-cell receptors (TCR), derived from T cell clones that recognize tumor-associated antigens, or chimeric antigen receptors (CAR), which consist of a single-chain antibody linked to a T-cell activation intracellular domain.

The laboratory works on multiple lines of research, ranging from basic analysis of molecular events, governing the biological activity of CAR-T cells (and the factors that condition their anti-tumor efficacy), to preclinical testing and clinical translation of CAR/TCR-based products. System biology approaches are applied to understand the signaling events that occur within T cells upon ligation of the target antigen by CARs/TCRs, aiming at integrating that information to enhance T cell performance. Novel cellular functions can be engineered by including additional signaling domains within a given CAR, or by combining CARs/TCRs with genome editing molecules (for instance, CRISPR/Cas) or pathway rewiring tools (monobodies, etc).

The identification of new therapeutic targets is a priority for our group, so we analyze both publicly available gene expression databases and primary immunohistochemical data to identify tumor-associated antigens for melanoma, lung cancer and other cancer histologies. We work in close collaboration with the clinical staff at Moffitt Cancer Center to accelerate the clinical translation of our findings. The ultimate goal of our research efforts is to learn how to develop safer and more efficient treatments, resulting in an immediate clinical benefit for cancer patients.

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