Mathew Krummel, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
Important discoveries come from fundamental research and ‘How does this work?’ questions. For the past 20 years, Matthew Krummel, Ph.D., has studied mechanisms that regulate T cell responses and therefore regulate immune function, using cutting-edge real-time imaging methods to ask these kinds of questions. As a graduate student, he pioneered the use of antibodies against inhibitory receptors on T cells. Now termed ‘checkpoint blockade,’ the approach and its offshoots are widely used for treatment of melanoma and other cancers. He is a poster child for the assertion that basic studies yield clinically relevant results. Dr. Krummel’s lab at UCSF focuses on figuring out how entire immune systems, collections of cells in complex tissues, work. Much of the work in the lab starts with cutting-edge imaging approaches as hypothesis-generating tool and the lab has built multiphoton, TIRF and lattice-light sheet microscopes for their studies. Studies focus on understanding how dynamic behaviors (motility, formation of cellular aggregates, transfer of antigens between cells) generate immune tolerance and/or activation. Dr. Krummel also drives collaborative science. At UCSF, he conceived of, built and staffed an imaging ‘collaboratory’ which now houses dozens of microscopes and unites ‘shared’ technical personnel for the campus. A novel industry consortium-funded project called UCSF Immunoprofiler is now uniting tumor biopsies from over 15 cancer types into the lab in order to understand the biology of individual patients. Dr. Krummel also founded a biotech company, Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, to translate his lab’s findings in immunology toward treating those people for whom checkpoint blockade is insufficient. The downstream aim of all of his research is to use the immune system to improve human health.