Wistar Institute recruits vaccine researcher Amelia Escolano, Ph.D., and immunologist Nan Zhang, Ph.D., as assistant professors

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Newswise – PHILADELPHIA – (September 1, 2021) – The Wistar Institute, international leader in biomedical research in the fields of cancer, immunology and infectious diseases, welcomes Amelia Escolano, Ph.D., and Nan Zhang, Ph.D., as assistant professors.

Escolano’s research is focused on the development of new vaccine approaches against highly mutant viruses. She will join the Vaccines & Immunotherapy Center.

“My laboratory will study the immune responses elicited by a new form of vaccination that involves sequential immunization. Our goal will be to identify guidelines for the design of effective vaccines that induce broad protection for prolonged periods, ”said Escolano. “I also plan to establish collaborations with members of the Wistar Cancer Center to explore the use of our sequential vaccination approaches against cancer-related viruses and tumor neoantigens.

Zhang, who joins the Immunology, Microenvironment, and Metastasis Program at the Wistar Institute Cancer Center, is studying the role of a group of white blood cells called macrophages in ovarian cancer metastasis into the abdominal cavity.

“Due to recent developments in macrophage research, these cells are known to be highly plastic and heterogeneous, which means that depending on their environment, they can either promote or suppress tumor growth and form different sub- groups that are very difficult to identify and target pharmaceutically, “Zhang said.” My lab will use advanced technologies to better understand the functional differences between these subgroups of macrophages and possibly come up with a treatment plan for this devastating disease. “

“We are delighted to be able to recruit the best talent within our scientific community,” said Dario Altieri, MD, Chairman and CEO of Wistar, Director of the Wistar Institute Cancer Center and Distinguished Professor Robert and Penny Fox. “Nan and Amelia have an exceptional track record of researching answers to some of the most pressing and current questions about cancer and HIV, and has done so using cutting-edge models and technologies. We look forward to witnessing their potential and seeing what new research frontiers they will conquer.

“I am delighted to join an institution with such an important history of contributions to the field of vaccine design and where my research can synergize with that of other outstanding members of the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center,” said Escolano. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to develop my own scientific ideas and to create a community of researchers around them. My goal is to pass my passion for science on to new generations and to form a strong group of researchers who will significantly influence scientific progress.

“I have always admired Wistar’s collaborative and world-class research environment, particularly in cancer biology and immunology, and thought the Institute would be a great fit for me given my common research interests with other researchers, ”Zhang said. “I feel like I’m about to embark on some of the most exciting adventures anyone can have: making new discoveries that can potentially save lives and mentor next generation scientists.”

Escolano received his BS from the University of Oviedo, Spain, and the University of Turku, Finland, and an MA from Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Madrid, and Genome Research Institute (GRI), Cincinnati , Ohio. She got her doctorate. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Spanish Cardiovascular Research Center in Madrid and the Autonoma University of Madrid, and completed his postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University in New York.

Zhang received his bachelor’s degree in microbiology and immunology from Shandong University, China, and a doctorate. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He completed his postgraduate training in the Department of Pathology and Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine.

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The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with particular expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent, non-profit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious title of Cancer Center from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The institute works actively to ensure that research advances go from the lab to the clinic as quickly as possible. wistar.org.


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