Led by Meisam Naeimi Kararoudi, DVM, PhD, this lab aims to develop novel cancer immunotherapies through CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and screening technology. The lab uses novel methods of genome wide CRISPR screening to discover key genes or genetic sequences important in eliciting specific functions or phenotypes for certain cell types, such as natural killer (NK) cells.
NK cells are immune cells with the innate ability to target several cancers. Promising results demonstrate NK-cell based immunotherapy can successfully treat pediatric malignancies. However, their ability to target solid tumors is limited, reduced by the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME).
The Naemi Kararoudi Lab aims to use its novel CRISPR screening methods to discover genes responsible for NK cells’ sensitivity to TME, improve understandings of these genes and generate TME-resistant NK cells. By identifying mediators of immunosuppression, researchers can discover and characterize functional gene targets in NK cells, generate novel genetically reprogrammed NK cell-based therapies and improve survival of kids with devastating solid tumors.
Using gene modification in NK cells has proved challenging for researchers. The Naeimi Kararoudi Lab, however, has successfully used a DNA-free approach by electroporation of Cas9/RNP in NK cells.
Additionally, under Dean Lee, MD, PhD, another principal investigator in the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disease, the team has developed novel methodologies to generate human primary CAR-NK cells using CRISPR gene editing. Using these methodologies, the Naeimi Kararoudi lab is developing and testing new CAR-NK and CAR-T cells to target childhood cancers.
Meisam Naeimi Kararoudi, DVM, PhD
Principal Investigator, Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases
Director, CRISPR/Gene Editing Core
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Dr. Meisam Naeimi Kararoudi is a principal investigator in the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases and the director of the CRISPR/Gene Editing Core at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is also an assistant professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Dr. Naeimi Kararoudi also served as a postdoctoral scientist in the Lee Lab. Working with Dean Lee, MD, PhD, Dr. Naeimi Kararoudi developed a method to genetically modify hard-to-transfect human natural killer (NK) cells using CRISPR and identified novel approaches to enhance their cytotoxicity and target cancers via chimeric antigen receptors. In his own lab, Dr. Naeimi Kararoudi is developing novel gene edited immune cells such as NK cells and T-cells for cancer immunotherapy.
Dr. Naeimi Kararoudi received his veterinary surgery degree in Iran and his doctorate degree from the University of Perugia in Italy. He was also trained as an Erasmus scholar at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Yasemin Sezgin, MS
Research Associate and Lab Manager