Pre-Conference Bootcamp

Monday, August 24

12:30 pm Registration & Networking

12:55 pm Chair’s Opening Remarks

1:00 pm Human NK Cell Differentiation & Migration

  • Emily Mace Assistant Proffesor, Columbia University in the City of New York


  • Exploring the role of cell migration in NK cell development
  • Understanding the regulation of adhesion and cell migration in human NK cells
  • Understanding links between cell migration and lytic function

Examining the Mechanisms of NK Cell-mediated Cytotoxicity

1:30 pm Ontogeny is a Key Determinant to the Function of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Natural Killer Cells


  • NK cell potential arises from erythro-myeloid progenitors (EMPs) in the yolk sac
  • EMP-derived NK cells have a potent degranulation response
  • hPSC differentiation yields 2 distinct CD34+ populations, each with NK cell
  • hPSC-derived EMP-like NK cells are more potently cytotoxic than adult CD16+ NK

2:00 pm A New Mechanism of NK-cell Cytotoxicity Against Pre-B ALL Cells

  • Elie Haddad Professor of Paediatrics , University of Montreal


  • Discovering NK cells’ capacity to kill supposedly resistant pre-B ALL cells
  • Outlining mechanisms that cause delayed killing independent of granule exocytosis or the death receptors cytotoxic pathways
  • Discussing how this new mechanism does not require caspase activation or mitochondrial depolarization

2:30 pm Afternoon Refreshments & Networking

3:15 pm Microchip Platform for Imaging-based Efficacy Testing of Cells & Reagents for Immunotherapy


• A microchip platform for live-cell imaging of thousands of individual cells within larger populations and show how we use it to assess heterogeneity in cytotoxic response and serial killing by NK cells
• A microchip platform for generating tumor spheroids for studies of the tumor microenvironment and how NK attack solid tumors
• Examples of how these platforms have been utilized to get mechanistic understanding of the cytotoxic process during NK serial killing, how NK cells respond to changes in the tumor microenvironment and to test efficacy of drugs for immuno-oncology

3:40 pm

Discovering Alternative Avenues for Cell Therapies

3:45 pm The Sweet Side of Immune Evasion


  • Assessing how aberrant glycosylation is a recognised hallmark of cancer with increased cell surface expression of sialic acid (hypersialylation) and seeing aberrant glycosylation as a common feature
  • Associating hypersialylation with increased risk of disease progression and poor survival in numerous cancers, including Multiple Myeloma. In addition to influencing homing, cell trafficking and drug resistance, hypersialylation enables immune evasion, in part via engagement of sialic acid binding, inhibitory  checkpoint like receptors called Siglecs, which are present on immune cells, such as macrophages, activated T cells and NK cells
  • Reviewing our current understanding of the role of sialylation within the immune microenvironment, including potential strategies to overcome sialylation induced immune evasion, leading to enhancement of both innate and adaptive immune responses

4:15 pm Distinct Effects of Cannabinoids on Differentiated vs. Cancer Stem Cells; Role in Natural Killer Cell Activation


  • Differential underlying mechanisms of NK cell targeting of well-differentiated vs. Poorly differentiated tumors/Cancer Stem Cells
  • Differential effect of Cannabinoids on differentiated vs. Cancer stem cells
  • Effect of Cannabinoids in vivo on patients’ Natural Killer cells and its potential relationship with survival
  • Effect of Cannabinoids on NK cells in vivo in humanized mouse model
  • Potential mechanisms of NK cell activation by Cannabinoids

4:45 pm End of Bootcamp Day