Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Wainwright Laboratory of Brain Aging, Cancer Immunology, and Immunotherapy

About Us

Our laboratory is comprised of a dynamic team of Graduate and Medical students, Postdoctoral Fellows, Technicians and Senior Scientists that are collectively focused on identifying the weaknesses in the immune system that allow brain tumors to exist. In so doing, we aim to immunotherapeutically convert the vulnerabilities into strengths, while simultaneously bolstering the immune response against malignant brain tumors.

Our work is broken down into 3 primary objectives:

The first aim is designed to investigate the most basic mechanisms in brain cancer that disable productive tumor immunity. This involves the investigation of freshly-resected human brain cancer that comes directly to our laboratory from the operating room, in addition to the analysis of human glioblastoma cell lines that are studied in petri dishes under different conditions and therapeutic combinations.

The second aim is tasked to move the most basic therapeutic discoveries into immunocompetent mouse brain tumors models, whereby, we can investigate whether those immune-disabling pathways, as well as the unproven immunotherapeutic modalities, warrant future clinical consideration for patients with brain cancer.

The third aim of our research is tasked with the analysis of tissue(s) from patients with malignant brain tumors. This involves the molecular and genetic dissection of identifying, what works, versus, what doesn’t work. By establishing what works in patients that respond to immunotherapy, we aim to prospectively define those individuals that will benefit from a particular type of immune-based therapy. This work is intended to aid the future decision-making process of physicians treating patients with incurable brain cancer. Similarly, by identifying what doesn’t work in patients that do not respond well to immunotherapy, we aim to: 1) determine why and 2) find effective treatment(s).

At the end of the day, we’re here to help people.

Our passion for improving the quality and quantity of human life motivates and excites our studies, our interactions with each other and our hope that we can make a difference.

Learn more about the American Brain Tumor Association's support of the Wainwright Lab

The Wainwright Laboratory welcomes your questions and comments. For general feedback and inquiries, please contact us for more information via our office information below.

Contact Us

Derek A. Wainwright, PhD
300 East Superior
Tarry 2-703
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-503-3161
Fax: 312-503-3552

Melissa M. Vazquez, BS
Executive Assistant
Department of Neurological Surgery
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Phone: 312-503-4877
Fax: 312-503-3552

Employment and Training

If you are interested in joining the Wainwright Lab and would like more information please fill out our application. We look forward to hearing from you.

Lab Members

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