Dr. Brendan Horton, PhD

Ankyra Therapeutics

Contact Details

Ankyra Therapeutics


In graduate school I focused on tumor-infiltrating T cells (TIL), especially on the functions of the co-stimulatory receptor 4-1BB. 4-1BB is expressed by dysfunctional T cells in the tumor microenvironment, and agonist anti-4-1BB therapy reinvigorates TIL through a mechanism involving increased TIL survival. I found that 4-1BB is also critical for TIL accumulation and function during an endogenous anti-tumor T cell response. Cross-presenting dendritic cells are the likely source of endogenous 4-1BBL in the tumor microenvironment, and this interaction is critical for TIL persistence and the efficacy of immunotherapy.   

As a postdoc, my current focus is on how different tissue and organ environments play a role in regulating anti-tumor T cell responses. Clinical trial data shows that the response to checkpoint blockade varies across tissue sites of tumor growth, even within one cancer type (for example, metastatic NSCLC). I aim to discover novel ways that different tissue sites regulate anti-tumor immunity. These findings could hopefully be leveraged into new therapeutic strategies to increase the response rates of immunotherapy, turning previously non-responding lesions into responding lesions. 

My personal hobbies include playing with my dog, running (slowly), brewing beer, and ballroom dance lessons. 

Find me on Instagram: @bleighhorton

Volunteer Bio  

Postdoctoral scientist at MIT in the Spranger lab 
PhD training at the University of Chicago in the Gajewski lab