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Smita K Nair

Professor in Surgery
Surgery, Surgical Sciences
Box 103035 Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710
Room 1077, MSRB-2, 106 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710


I have 22 years of experience in the field of cancer vaccines and immunotherapy and I am an accomplished T cell immunologist. Laboratory website:

Current projects in the Nair Laboratory:
1] Dendritic cell vaccines using tumor-antigen encoding RNA (mRNA, total tumor RNA, amplified tumor mRNA)
2] Local immune receptor modulation using mRNA that encodes for antibodies, receptor-ligands, cytokines, chemokines and toll-like receptors (current target list: CTLA4, GITR, PD1, TIM3, LAG3, OX40 and 41BB)
3] Combination therapies for cancer: cytotoxic therapy (radiation, chemo and oncolytic poliovirus therapy) with dendritic cell-based vaccines and immune checkpoint blockade
4] Adoptive T cell therapy using tumor RNA-transfected dendritic cells to expand tumor-specific T cells ex vivo
5] Adoptive T cell therapy using PSMA CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) RNA-transfected T cells
6] Direct injection of tumor antigen encoding RNA (targeting antigens to dendric cells in vivo using nanoparticles and aptamers)

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor in Surgery · 2021 - Present Surgery, Surgical Sciences, Surgery
Professor in Pathology · 2020 - Present Pathology, Clinical Science Departments
Professor in Neurosurgery · 2020 - Present Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute · 1993 - Present Duke Cancer Institute, Institutes and Centers

Education, Training & Certifications

University of Tennessee, Knoxville · 1993 Ph.D.

Web Links

Nair Team