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Smita K Nair, PhD

Professor in Surgery
Professor in Pathology
Professor in Neurosurgery
Office: Room 1077, Msrb-2, 106 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710
Campus Mail: DUMC Box 103035 Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710

I have 22 years of experience in the field of cancer vaccines and immunotherapy and I am an accomplished T cell immunologist. Laboratory website:
https://surgery.duke.edu/immunology-inflammation-immunotherapy-laboratory

Current projects in the Nair Laboratory:
1] Dendritic cell vaccines using tumor-antigen encoding RNA (mRNA, total tumor RNA, amplified tumor mRNA)
2] Local immune receptor modulation using mRNA that encodes for antibodies, receptor-ligands, cytokines, chemokines and toll-like receptors (current target list: CTLA4, GITR, PD1, TIM3, LAG3, OX40 and 41BB)
3] Combination therapies for cancer: cytotoxic therapy (radiation, chemo and oncolytic poliovirus therapy) with dendritic cell-based vaccines and immune checkpoint blockade
4] Adoptive T cell therapy using tumor RNA-transfected dendritic cells to expand tumor-specific T cells ex vivo
5] Adoptive T cell therapy using PSMA CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) RNA-transfected T cells
6] Direct injection of tumor antigen encoding RNA (targeting antigens to dendric cells in vivo using nanoparticles and aptamers)

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1993

Selected Grants

Publications

Corey, Kristin M., Lyra B. Olson, Ibtehaj A. Naqvi, Sarah A. Morrison, Connor Davis, Shahid M. Nimjee, Loretta G. Que, et al. “Suppression of Fibrinolysis and Hypercoagulability, Severity of Hypoxemia, and Mortality in COVID-19 Patients: A Retrospective Cohort Study.” Anesthesiology 137, no. 1 (July 1, 2022): 67–78. https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000004239.

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Low, Justin T., Vidyalakshmi Chandramohan, Michelle L. Bowie, Michael C. Brown, Matthew S. Waitkus, Aaron Briley, Kevin Stevenson, et al. “Epigenetic STING silencing is developmentally conserved in gliomas and can be rescued by methyltransferase inhibition.” Cancer Cell 40, no. 5 (May 9, 2022): 439–40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2022.04.009.

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Naqvi, Ibtehaj, Nicholas Giroux, Lyra Olson, Sarah Ahn Morrison, Telmo Llanga, Tolu O. Akinade, Yuefei Zhu, et al. “DAMPs/PAMPs induce monocytic TLR activation and tolerance in COVID-19 patients; nucleic acid binding scavengers can counteract such TLR agonists.” Biomaterials 283 (April 2022): 121393. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2022.121393.

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Ozer, Imran, Garrett Kelly, Renpeng Gu, Xinghai Li, Nikita Zakharov, Parul Sirohi, Smita K. Nair, et al. “Polyethylene Glycol-Like Brush Polymer Conjugate of a Protein Drug Does Not Induce an Antipolymer Immune Response and Has Enhanced Pharmacokinetics than Its Polyethylene Glycol Counterpart.” Adv Sci (Weinh) 9, no. 11 (April 2022): e2103672. https://doi.org/10.1002/advs.202103672.

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Swartz, Adam M., and Smita K. Nair. “The In Vitro Differentiation of Human CD141+CLEC9A+ Dendritic Cells from Mobilized Peripheral Blood CD34+ Hematopoietic Stem Cells.” Curr Protoc 2, no. 4 (April 2022): e410. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpz1.410.

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Kelly, Garrett, Joshua J. Milligan, Eric M. Mastria, Sarah Kim, Stephanie R. Zelenetz, Jarrett Dobbins, Leon Y. Cai, Xinghai Li, Smita K. Nair, and Ashutosh Chilkoti. “Intratumoral delivery of brachytherapy and immunotherapy by a thermally triggered polypeptide depot.” J Control Release 343 (March 2022): 267–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.01.024.

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Robinson, Camille, Maria M. Xu, Smita K. Nair, Georgia M. Beasley, and Kristen E. Rhodin. “Oncolytic viruses in melanoma.” Front Biosci (Landmark Ed) 27, no. 2 (February 14, 2022): 63. https://doi.org/10.31083/j.fbl2702063.

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Kelly, Linsley, Lyra B. Olson, Rachel E. Rempel, Jeffrey I. Everitt, Dana Levine, Smita K. Nair, Mark E. Davis, and Bruce A. Sullenger. “β-Cyclodextrin-containing polymer treatment of cutaneous lupus and influenza improves outcomes.” Mol Ther 30, no. 2 (February 2, 2022): 845–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymthe.2021.10.003.

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Swartz, Adam M., Kelly M. Hotchkiss, Smita K. Nair, John H. Sampson, and Kristen A. Batich. “Generation of Tumor Targeted Dendritic Cell Vaccines with Improved Immunogenic and Migratory Phenotype.” Methods Mol Biol 2410 (2022): 609–26. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-1884-4_33.

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Eteshola, Elias O. U., Karenia Landa, Rachel E. Rempel, Ibtehaj A. Naqvi, E Shelley Hwang, Smita K. Nair, and Bruce A. Sullenger. “Breast cancer-derived DAMPs enhance cell invasion and metastasis, while nucleic acid scavengers mitigate these effects.” Mol Ther Nucleic Acids 26 (December 3, 2021): 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.omtn.2021.06.016.

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