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Roberta Zappasodi, PhD

Parker Bridge Scholar


Roberta Zappasodi is a Research Associate and Parker Bridge Scholar in the Immunology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Her research aims at defining new immune-related biomarkers and therapeutic targets to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. In particular, she is interested in exploring the role of conventional and non-conventional immunosuppressive T cells as mechanisms of resistance to immune checkpoint blockade therapy and in exploiting alternative immunotherapies, including GITR co-stimulation, to counteract these inhibitory cells. Her work led to the discovery of a non-conventional immunosuppressive CD4+T-cell subset with T-follicular-helper-like features, which is a biomarker of checkpoint blockade activity, and contributed to the understanding of the mechanisms of action of GITR agonist antibodies in cancer patients. As an additional strategy to reprogram the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and potentiate anti-tumor T-cell responses, she is interested in exploring ways to interfere with tumor glucose metabolism in combination with checkpoint blockade. In addition, she has contributed to seminal studies on the role of tumor mutational burden in response to checkpoint blockade and to the definition of immunogenic tumor-associated neoantigens.

Dr. Zappasodi obtained her PhD in Immunology at the National Cancer Institute of Milan (Italy). She then pursued her postdoctoral studies at MSK in Dr. Wolchok and Merghoub’s group with the support from the Parker Scholars Program.

Education & Training

  • 2006-2012: National Cancer Institute of Milan
  • 2011: The Open University, PhD, Life and Biomolecular Sciences
  • 2005: Università di Bologna, MSc, Biotechnology

Awards & Honors

  • 2016: SITC Presidential Award and Presidential Travel Award