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Welcome to the team - Petya Apostolova Lab!
Prof. Dr. Petya Apostolova is a physician-scientist studying research questions at the intersection of immunology and hematology with the goal of developing improved therapies for patients with blood malignancies. In particular, she investigates how metabolic processes in immune and tumor cells govern survival, cell fate, and cell-cell interactions.
Apostolova’s work is dedicated to two complementary research areas. First, she seeks to understand how metabolism shapes immune cell fate and aims to identify ways to improve anti-tumor immunity. Her most recent work defined novel mechanisms by which complex lipids drive effector T cell signaling and function. Apostolova’s research group will now focus on deciphering how the metabolism of leukemia and immune cells supports tumor immune evasion. Defining such metabolic vulnerabilities could lay the foundation for translational studies to boost the anti-tumor immune response in patients receiving cellular immunotherapies for leukemia and other hematological cancers.
The second focus area is understanding the biology of immunological complications resulting from cancer treatments. Apostolova’s past work has investigated the role of metabolic and cell stress reactions in graft-versus-host disease, a frequent and severe complication of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Furthermore, she has identified extracorporeal photopheresis as a therapeutic approach for patients with colitis induced by checkpoint inhibitors. Within her work at the DBM and Division of Hematology, Apostolova aims to continue her translational studies with the ultimate goal of increasing the safety of immunotherapy treatments.