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Microbiology Logo Microbiology & Immunology
Te Tari Moromoroiti me te Ārai Mate

Associate Professor Roslyn Kemp

Research interests:

Applied and molecular immunology, cancer immunobiology, vaccines – immunology and technology

Current research:

My research focuses on T cells as mediators of anti-tumour immunity and inflammation.  Specifically,  we study the role of inflammation and the unique features of different subsets of T cells and myeloid cells, focussing on cancer and gut-specific immune responses; and how these cell subsets are involved in patient outcome. 

We are currently looking at T cell and myeloid cell subsets in colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.  We are generating site-specific T cell memory using novel slow release vaccines and analysing the molecular signalling pathways required to maintain these populations.

Research projects 

My current areas of research are mucosal and tumour  immune responses and T cell memory.

Mucosal Immune Responses in Cancer and Inflammatory Diseases

  • Using immune responses in the lymph nodes and tumour to predict patient outcome in colorectal cancer
  • Investigating T cell responses in inflammatory bowel disease, Type 1 diabetes and spondylosing arthritis patients
  • T cell subsets in the gut mucosa and their influence on anti-tumour immune responses
  • Macrophage responses in colorectal cancer and inflammatory diseases, and in response to Vitamin D
  • Generating gut-specific memory T cells through vaccination

CD8+ T Cell Memory

  • Interactions between naïve and memory T cell populations
  • Molecular signals controlling memory T cell development and maintenance
  • Vaccination strategies to generate effective T cell memory populations

Lab group 


Paulo Urbano

Postdoctoral Fellow - 2019 - 



Ginny Niemi

MSc student 2016 - 2018

  • 2nd Place BMS Postgraduate Symposium Poster 2017
  • NZSO Administrative Assistant 2018-19 (0.5FTE)



Hamish Angus

BSc Hons student 2016; PhD student 2017 - 

Follow Hamish's progress in IBD research here



Janet Rhodes

MMedSci student 2018, PhD student 2019 - 

  • 2019: HRC Clinical Research Fellow 2019
  • 2018-19: Gut Cancer Foundation clinical research fellow 2018-19
  • 2019: 1st place, 3 minute oral presentation, Microbiology & Immunology and Biochemistry Research Celebration
  • 2018: NZ Society of Gastroenterology Janssen Research Fellowship (declined)
  • 2018: NZSO travel award
  • 2018: NZASI travel award
  • 2018: AAI Travel for Techniques award


Jess Harte

BBiomnedsci Hons student 2018, PhD student 2019 - 


Justin Tirados

BBiomedsci Hons student 2019 - 



Other activities

Member, Ako Aotearoa Academy for Tertiary Teaching Excellence

Secretary-General, International Union of Immunological Societies

Otago School of Medical Sciences Kaitohutohu

Centre for Translational Cancer Research


New Zealand Society of Oncology

Gut Health Network

University of Otago Supervisor of the Year 2013


T Cell Responses in Colorectal Cancer -  Dr Mik Black, Department of Biochemistry, Prof John McCall, Department of Surgery 

Immune Scoring in Colorectal Cancer - Prof John McCall, Department of Surgery; Dr Michael Jameson, Waikato DHB

Enhancing T Cell Memory with Vaccination - Prof Sarah Hook, School of Pharmacy 

Gut Immune Responses in Patients with Inflammatory Disease - Dr Michael Schultz, Department of Medicine, Dr Grant Butt, Department of Physiology

Current sources of funding

Cancer Research Trust

School of Biomedical Sciences

University of Otago

Otago Medical Research Foundation

Healthcare Otago

Richard Stewart Scholarship