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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 


photo - Kemp Lab past and present


Luis Munoz Erazo

Postdoctoral Fellow - 2018 - 


Paulo Urbano

Postdoctoral Fellow - 2019 - 



Ginny Niemi

MSc student 2016 - 2018

  • 2nd Place BMS Postgraduate Symposium Poster 2017


Sam Norton

BBiomedSci (Hons) student 2013, PhD student 2014 - 2017

  • 2nd place, OSMS Postgraduate Symposium Poster 2016
  • Sandy Smith Scholarship 2015
  • Genesis Oncology Trust Professional Development Award 2015
  • Webster Centre for Infectious Disease Travel Award 2014
  • ASI Travel Award 2014
  • Gut Health Network Travel Award 2014
  • winner OMSRS PhD Award 2014

Hamish Angus

BSc Hons student 2016; PhD student 2017 - 

Follow Hamish's progress in IBD research here

Simon Shirley

MSc student 2015 (with Sarah Hook); PhD student 2016 - (with Julie Cakebread and Ali Hodgkinson, AgResearch) 

Janet Rhodes

MMedSci student 2018, PhD student 2019 - 

Julia Leman

MSc student 2017 - 

  • 2nd Place BMS Postgraduate Symposium Short Talk 2017

 Gemma Laws

BBiomedSci Hons student 2014; MSc student 2017 - 2018

Douglas Gaskarth


MSc student 2018 - 


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

Lottery Health Research

University of Otago