Paul W. Denton
Paul W. Denton, PhD
- Biology, Assistant Professor
Immediately prior to joining the Biology Faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in June 2019, I had the pleasure of participating in the conduct of exciting and fast-paced clinical trials centered in the Aarhus University Infectious Diseases Department in Aarhus, Denmark. The focus of these studies was on understanding the impact of immunotherapies on immunity as well as diseased cell persistence in HIV positive individuals. I also have extensive pre-clinical research experience gained while utilizing humanized mice to study multiple aspects of HIV disease including the use of immunotoxins as immunotherapy against persistent diseased cells. Overall, the translational nature of my research experiences over many years together with my hands-on experiences utilizing immunotherapies to modulate human immunity have positioned me well for establishing a robust immunobiology research program here at UNO.
Immunology and General Biology
Cancer treatment outcomes have radically improved in recent years. The incorporation of immunotherapies into oncology treatments is a major contributing factor in these improved outcomes. Immunotherapy is treatment intended to modulate immune system activity in response to disease. The benefits of cancer immunotherapy were notably recognized with the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Drs. Honjo and Allison. Yet, there remain critical barriers to achieving successful immunotherapies for the majority of cancer patients. To help overcome these barriers, my research group is focused on improving immunotherapies to treat malignancies. Our approach is to develop and validate novel combination immunotherapy strategies to functionally improve natural killer (NK) cells’ capacity for destroying cancer cells either directly or via antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Furthermore, responses to immunotherapies are not universal in patients as some individuals have great clinical responses and outcomes while others may experience hyper-progression and rapid clinical decline. Therefore, our research group is also striving to provide important mechanistic insights that to help explain these differential responses to immunotherapy between individuals.