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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

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Kemp Lab 2019

Lab group 

Paulo2 Ginny    
Dr Paulo Urbano - Postdoctoral Fellow Ginny Niemi - Research Assistant    

Postgraduate students




Janet  Justin Tirados Kemp Lab2
Hamish Angus - PhD Student Jessica Harte - PhD Student Janet Rhodes - PhD Student JustinTirados - PhD Student
placeholder female board14 Amy Valentine  
Sonya Fenton - BBiomedSci Hons Student Amy Watts - BBiomedSci Student  Valentine Marion - Visiting Student  


Other activities


  • 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
  • HRC