Kamir Hiam-Galvez is a postdoctoral fellow working in SCI member Ansuman Satpathy's lab. An immunologist by training, Kamir shared with us about how his journey in cancer research began, and what he's focusing on now in the lab.
How did you first become interested in cancer research?
When I was a summer undergraduate research intern at Fred Hutch in Seattle, the program gave each intern a copy of Siddhartha Mukherjee's "The Emperor of All Maladies". I was really inspired by the way this book detailed the incredible impact cancer scientists have had on human health as well as the daunting scientific questions about how cancer develops or can be treated.
What kind of work are you doing now in Dr. Satpathy’s lab?
In the Satpathy lab, I'm trying to understand what drives new T cell responses in cancer. T cells are an important immune cell type that can directly kill tumor cells, but cancer can evade this killing by causing T cells to lose function and become "exhausted". Interesting recent work has shown that cancer immunotherapy actually induces a new wave of T cells to replace dysfunctional T cells in the tumor. My work aims to identify the precise mechanisms that generate this new T cell response. I hope that through this research we can find ways to improve existing cancer immunotherapies as well as rationally design new immunotherapies.
Outside of the lab, what do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies or activities?
Outside of the lab I am particularly passionate about music. Before becoming a scientist, I was an amateur musician, radio DJ, music journalist, and helped run a tiny independent record label. These days I like to search for and collect rare vinyl records from the 60s-70s with a particular focus on funk, soul, and jazz.
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