Dr. Franz Zemp, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute
BSc Biology, University of Lethbridge, 2006
MSc Molecular Biology, University of Lethbridge, 2008
PhD Medical Science, University of Calgary, 2015
Dr. Zemp began his research training studying plant-pathogen interactions and epigenetics during undergraduate (BSc, ’06) and graduate (MSc, ’08) degrees at the University of Lethbridge. This was followed by doctoral training (PhD, ’15) at the University of Calgary where he studied neuroimmune responses to oncolytic virus treatment in brain cancer. He also completed two post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Calgary studying mucosal immunology and tumor immunology before being appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary. Dr. Zemp is also the Lead of the Synthetic Immunology arm of the Alberta Cellular Therapy Immunology (ACTION) Program.
Areas of Research
- Research into the development and function of CAR T cells for solid malignancies of children and you
Dr. Zemp is a cancer immunologist and translational scientist in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary and Lead of the Synthetic Immunology arm of the Alberta Cellular Therapy Immunology (ACTION) Program. My research focuses on innovating in the field of cancer immunotherapies, particularly Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapies, for children, adolescents, and young adults. My primary efforts are aimed at serving the research and development goals of the ACTION program. Our team engineers novel CAR constructs and tests their activity in a variety of cancer models, including patient-derived xenografts and humanized mouse models. Currently, we are focused on the translational development of GCAR1, a novel CAR T therapy designed for rare, treatment-refractory solid tumors. First-in-person GCAR1 trials are slated for 2023.
My personal research interests focus on three main themes: 1) Discovering novel immunotherapy targets for paediatric and AYA sarcomas; 2) Developing immunotherapies to target/co-target the tumour microenvironment; 2) Utilizing of oncolytic viral vectors as adjuvants for CAR T therapy.
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