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

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 use high dimensional tools and analyses to study the networks of cells and molecules in the immune response

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 analysing the molecular signalling pathways in T cells.

Research projects 

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

Mucosal Immune Responses in Cancer and Inflammatory Diseases

  • Using immune responses in the tumour to predict patient outcome in colorectal cancer
  • Investigating T cell responses in inflammatory bowel disease patients
  • Using human intestinal organoids to model the gut immune response
  • Heterogeneity and plasticity of T cell subsets in the gut mucosa and their influence on anti-tumour immune responses
  • Generating gut-specific memory T cells through vaccination
  • Development of new analytical tools to study high dimensional immune data

CD8+ T Cell Memory

  • Interactions between naïve and memory T cell populations
  • Vaccination strategies to generate effective T cell memory populations

Molecular Pathways controlling T cells

  • Molecular signals controlling memory T cell development and maintenance
  • Signalling pathways in tumour immune responses

IMG 6207 

Lab group 

Dr Andrew Highton

Postdoctoral Fellow 

Dr Kirsten Ward-Hartstonge

Cancer Research Trust John Gavin Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Safina Gadeock

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Lisa Fan

Research Assistant and Lab Manager

Postgraduate students

Janet Rhodes

PhD student

  • 2018 - HRC Clinical Research Fellowship
  • 2019 - Gut Cancer Foundation Award
  • 2019 - Richard Stewart Fund
  • 2019 - AAI Travel for Techniques Award

Jess Harte

PhD student

  • 2022 Cancer Research Trust Professional Development Award
  • 2022 Australasian Cytometry Society Travel Award
  • 2022 ASI Travel Award
  • 2019 - Cancer Society of NZ PhD Scholarship

Justin Tirados

PhD student

  • 2022 Australasian Cytometry Society Travel Award

Gemma Laws

PhD student

  • 2022 - Winner Buck Award - best student presentation NZASI
  • 2022 - ASI Travel Award
  • 2022 - MPPT Travel Award
  • 2022 - AAI Travel for Techniques Award
  • 2021 - Best student presentation, BMS Postgraduate symposium

Doug Gaskarth

PhD student

  • 2022 - Sandy Smith Memorial Award
  • 2021 - Best poster award, BMS Postgraduate symposium
  • 2020 - Cancer Society of NZ PhD Scholarship

Rory Costello

PhD student

  • 2023 Australasian Cytometry Society Travel Award

Brad Devery

PhD student

  • 2023 Australasian Cytometry Society Travel Award
  • 2023 Admitted to ASI Advanced Immunology School


Other activities


Current sources of funding

  • University of Otago
  • Anderson Trust
  • Health Research Council NZ
  • Maurice Wilkins Centre