Adam Nelson (Class of 2013)

2022 Mentonians Foundation Award Winner

My research is focused on understanding the immune response to cancer. Accumulation of mutations within healthy cells leads to the formation of cancerous cells. Certain mutations in cancerous cells change intracellular metabolism, resulting in uncontrolled growth and metastasis. Products of this change in metabolism are recognised by a subset of unconventional T cells called MR1 T cells. My research is about understanding both cancerous cells and MR1T cells to determine what factors are important in the MR1T cell-mediated killing of cancer. Specifically, I will be utilizing CRISPR-cas9 gene modulating technology to determine which genes are switched on and off in cancerous cells and what metabolic pathways are recognised by MR1T cells. I will also develop a platform to investigate the functional phenotype of MR1T cells, determining what sets these cells apart from other T cells, and allows them to kill cancerous cells while not harming healthy cells. My hope is that this research will ultimately lead to the development of T cell-based immunotherapies which, in combination with existing therapies, will produce an effective and universal treatment for cancer. 

About the Foundation Scholarship

The Mentone Grammar Foundation provides the opportunity for Mentonians to apply for a grant of up to $15,000 to assist with the pursuit of Doctoral studies. The Mentonians Association and broader Mentone Grammar Community proudly supports our students to continue to ‘dream big’, long after they leave school.