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Robyn Oldham_Academic Profile

Robyn Oldham

Graduate Student


  • Biochemistry

Contact Information


Mentor: Jeffrey Medin, PhD
Year Entered MCW: 2016
Previous Education: BS, Biochemistry, Queen's University

Research Interests

Immunotherapies, such as chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have shown significant success in patients with leukemia and lymphoma. CD19 CARs are now FDA approved for these indications. Further advancement of CAR and other immunotherapies is required in order to expand this success to other cancer types. This requires development of antibodies and CARs against additional tumour associated antigens (TAAs), as well as strategies to increase the efficacy of CAR therapies. I am currently involved in three ongoing research programs. In my first project, we used cell surface capture and mass spectrometry to analyze cell lines and primary MM patient samples to evaluate and map the cell surface proteome. We have identified a number of potential new targets for MM immunotherapy and are validating these targets on the surface of MM patient cells. Top candidates will be developed into antibody and CAR therapies. 

A second project focuses on the development and testing of novel CD30 antibodies and bispecific antibodies (biAbs). Here, we have developed novel monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against human CD30 and characterized these mAbs. Our two top mAb candidates were heteroconjugated with an anti-CD3 antibody (OKT3) in order to develop therapeutic biAbs. The function and efficacy of these biAbs have been assessed in vitro, and in vivo studies are underway. Our ultimate aim is to bring these biAbs forward to clinical trials at MCW. 

Finally, we are evaluating T-Rapa cells as a novel CAR effector cell. T-Rapa cells are T cells that have been treated ex vivo with rapamycin. They have already been tested extensively in the clinic without CARs. We have transduced T-Rapa cells with a CD19 CAR vector in order to evaluate their effectiveness as CAR effector cells in comparison to traditional (non-rapamycin treated) T cells. T-Rapa cells are highly effective CAR effector cells and, notably, we have observed that they produce significantly less of certain cytokines, such as IFN-g. These cells may be of interest as a strategy to reduce cytokine release syndrome.


Oldham, RAA, Medin, JA. (2017). Practical considerations for CAR design and delivery. Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy. 17(8):961-978. 

Al-Hujaily, EM. Oldham, RAA, Hari, P, Medin, JA. (2016). Development of Novel Immunotherapies for Multiple Myeloma. Int J Mol Sci 17(9). 

Oldham RAA, Berinstein EB, Medin JA. (2015). Lentiviral Vectors in Cancer Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy. 7:271-284 

Eves R, Oldham RAA, Jia, L, Mak, AS. (2015). The roles of Akt isoforms in the regulation of podosome formation in fibroblasts and invasion of extracellular matrix. Cancers. 7:96- 111. 

Raycroft MAR, Maxwell CI, Oldham RAA, Andrea AS, Neverov AA, Brown RS. (2012). Trifunctional Metal Ion-Catalyzed Solvolysis: Cu(II)-Promoted Methanolysis of N,N-bis(2- picolyl) Benzamides Involves Unusual Lewis Acid Activation of Substrate, Delivery of Coordinated Nucleophile, and Powerful Assistance of the Leaving Group Departure. Inorganic Chemistry. 51:10325-10333.