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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 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 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, 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

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Kemp Lab 2019

Lab group 

Paulo Urbano2 Ginny Niemi2    
Dr Paulo Urbano - Postdoctoral Fellow Ginny Niemi - Research Assistant    

Postgraduate students

Hamish Angus2


Janet Rhodes2 JustinTirados4
Hamish Angus - PhD Student Jessica Harte - PhD Student Janet Rhodes - PhD Student JustinTirados - PhD Student
PlaceholderFemale16 Amy Watts    
Sonya Fenton - BBiomedSci Hons Student Amy Watts - BBiomedSci Student  


Other activities


Current sources of funding

  • Cancer Research Trust
  • School of Biomedical Sciences
  • University of Otago
  • Otago Medical Research Foundation
  • Healthcare Otago
  • Richard Stewart Scholarship
  • HRC