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Mary Jo Turk, PhD

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Additional Titles/Positions/Affiliations:
O. Ross McIntyre, M.D. Endowed Professor
Co-Director, Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy Program
Norris-Cotton Cancer Center

Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Turk received her B.S. from John Carroll University, and her Ph.D. from Purdue University. She conducted postdoctoral work at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Turk joined the faculty of Dartmouth in 2004.

Immunology Program
Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Programs
Norris Cotton Cancer Center


Contact Information:

One Medical Center Drive
Rubin Building 732, HB 7937
Lebanon NH 03756

Office: Rubin 732
Phone: 603-653-3549

Asst. Phone: 603-653-9952

Professional Interests:

Tumor Immunology and T cell memory

Our laboratory's research focuses on generating durable memory T cell responses to cancer. What is known about generating immunological memory has historically derived from studies of infectious pathogens. Because tumors are an altered form of self-tissue, memory T cell responses to tumors have been characteristically difficult to generate, and mechanisms for their maintenance have not been well understood.

Our laboratory has established that autoimmune disease is a critical determinant for the maintenance of T cell memory to tumor antigens. We have also shown that the most functional tumor-specific memory T cells reside in peripheral tissues. Our research has established that tissue-resident memory T cells are a critical component of long-lived immunity to cancer.

Courses Taught:

Bio 42
Micro/Immuno 136

Selected Publications:


Resident and circulating memory T cells persist for years in melanoma patients with durable responses to immunotherapy.
Han J, Zhao Y, Shirai K, Molodtsov A, Kolling FW, Fisher JL, Zhang P, Yan S, Searles TG, Bader JM, Gui J, Cheng C, Ernstoff MS, Turk MJ, Angeles CV
Nat Cancer. 2021 Mar;2(3):300-311. doi: 10.1038/s43018-021-00180-1. Epub 2021 Mar 24.
PMID: 34179824

Memory CD8+ T cell responses to cancer.
Han J, Khatwani N, Searles TG, Turk MJ, Angeles CV
Semin Immunol. 2020 Jun;49:101435. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2020.101435. Epub 2020 Nov 30.
PMID: 33272898

Oncogenes Feed Treg Cells without Calling CD8s to the Table.
Khatwani N, Turk MJ
Immunity. 2020 Jul 14;53(1):13-15. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2020.06.020.
PMID: 32668223

Anti-CTLA-4 Activates Intratumoral NK Cells and Combined with IL15/IL15Rα Complexes Enhances Tumor Control.
Sanseviero E, O'Brien EM, Karras JR, Shabaneh TB, Aksoy BA, Xu W, Zheng C, Yin X, Xu X, Karakousis GC, Amaravadi RK, Nam B, Turk MJ, Hammerbacher J, Rubinstein MP, Schuchter LM, Mitchell TC, Liu Q, Stone EL
Cancer Immunol Res. 2019 Aug;7(8):1371-1380. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-18-0386. Epub 2019 Jun 25.
PMID: 31239316

Tissue Resident CD8 Memory T Cell Responses in Cancer and Autoimmunity.
Molodtsov A, Turk MJ
Front Immunol. 2018;9:2810. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.02810. Epub 2018 Nov 29.
PMID: 30555481

A Leukocyte Infiltration Score Defined by a Gene Signature Predicts Melanoma Patient Prognosis.
Zhao Y, Schaafsma E, Gorlov IP, Hernando E, Thomas NE, Shen R, Turk MJ, Berwick M, Amos CI, Cheng C
Mol Cancer Res. 2019 Jan;17(1):109-119. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-0173. Epub 2018 Aug 31.
PMID: 30171176

Oncogenic BRAFV600E Governs Regulatory T-cell Recruitment during Melanoma Tumorigenesis.
Shabaneh TB, Molodtsov AK, Steinberg SM, Zhang P, Torres GM, Mohamed GA, Boni A, Curiel TJ, Angeles CV, Turk MJ
Cancer Res. 2018 Sep 1;78(17):5038-5049. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0365. Epub 2018 Jul 19.
PMID: 30026331

VISTA expression on tumor-infiltrating inflammatory cells in primary cutaneous melanoma correlates with poor disease-specific survival.
Kuklinski LF, Yan S, Li Z, Fisher JL, Cheng C, Noelle RJ, Angeles CV, Turk MJ, Ernstoff MS
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2018 Jul;67(7):1113-1121. doi: 10.1007/s00262-018-2169-1. Epub 2018 May 8.
PMID: 29737375

Age effects of distinct immune checkpoint blockade treatments in a mouse melanoma model.
Padron Á, Hurez V, Gupta HB, Clark CA, Pandeswara SL, Yuan B, Svatek RS, Turk MJ, Drerup JM, Li R, Curiel TJ
Exp Gerontol. 2018 May;105:146-154. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2017.12.025. Epub 2018 Jan 8.
PMID: 29326088

Resident memory T cells in the skin mediate durable immunity to melanoma.
Malik BT, Byrne KT, Vella JL, Zhang P, Shabaneh TB, Steinberg SM, Molodtsov AK, Bowers JS, Angeles CV, Paulos CM, Huang YH, Turk MJ
Sci Immunol. 2017 Apr 14;2(10) pii: eaam6346. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aam6346.
PMID: 28738020

View more publications on PubMed