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Roberta Zappasodi, PhD

Parker Bridge Fellow

Biography

Roberta Zappasodi is a Research Associate and Parker Bridge Fellow 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 and Fellows Program.

Education & Training

  • 2013:  Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, NY
  • 2011: National Cancer Institute of Milan, PhD, Tumor Immunology, Immunotherapy
  • 2005: Università di Bologna, MSc, Biotechnology

Awards & Honors

  • 2005: M.Sc. in Medical Biotechnology awarded with the highest honor (110/110 summa cum laude)
  • 2006: Fondazione Michelangelo fellowship
  • 2007: Fondazione Marco Semenza fellowship
  • 2011: PhD awarded with highest distinction
  • 2015: Ministry of Health Young Investigator Award
  • 2015: AAI Trainee Award
  • 2016: Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Scholar Award
  • 2016: SITC Presidential Award
  • 2017: SITC Sparkathon Award
  • 2017: Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award
  • 2017: SITC International Scholar Award
  • 2018: ISSNAF IBM-Bio4 Dreams Award
  • 2019: Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Bridge Scholar Award
  • 2019: AACR-Bristol-Myers Squibb Scholar-in-Training Award
  • 2020: AACR WICR Scholar in Cancer Research Award