Jill E. Slansky
Associate Professor
  • 5280 Top Doctors 2016
  • Recognized as a 5280 Top Doctor
  • America’s Top Doctors 2015 — Castle Connolly, Medical, Ltd.
  • Recognized in America’s Top Doctors — Castle Connolly, Inc.
  • Best Doctors in America® 2015 — Best Doctors, Inc.
  • Recognized in Best Doctors in America® — Best Doctors, Inc.
  • America’s Top Doctors 2016 — Castle Connolly Medical, Ltd.
  • Research AreasResearch Areas
    • Basic Immunology
    • Cancer

    Special Interests

    Research Interests

    Basic Aspects of Tumor Immunology

    Many approaches are being explored to determine how to activate T cells specific for tumors. We are interested in how vaccination using tumor antigens with amino acid substitutions leads to increased antitumor responses. We are defining the binding parameters within the MHC-peptide-TCR complex that are necessary to activate tumor-specific T cells. Using mouse models, we showed that amino acid substitutions in a tumor antigen that increase the stability of the MHC-peptide-TCR complex are significantly more potent as tumor vaccines. The improved immunity results from enhanced expansion of T cells specific for the natural tumor antigen. Using cutting-edge technologies, we are extending these studies to determine the limits of the correlation between the stability of the TCR complex and the increased response to tumors. In addition, we are testing which peptide interactions, those with the MHC or those with the TCR, can be altered to elicit the most effective antitumor response. Finally, we have begun new experiments to determine the effects of the microenvironment of the tumor on the T cells elicited by these vaccines. In particular, do low oxygen levels within the tumor impede the cytolytic functions of the T cells.


    University of Wisconsin, Madison, PhD
    Johns Hopkins University, Postdoc

    Professional Memberships

    American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
    American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
    American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)


    Jordan, KR, F Crawford, JW Kappler, and JE Slansky. Vaccination of mice with baculovirus-infected insect cells expressing antigenic proteins. In Current Protocols in Immunology, J.E. Coligan, A.M. Kruisbeek, D.H. Margulies, E.M. Shevach and W. Strober, eds. (United States: John Wiley & Sons), Unit 2.15 (2009).

    McWilliams*, JA, RT Sullivan*, KR Jordan*, RH McMahan*, CB Kemmler*, M McDuffie, JE Slansky. T cell tolerance to an endogenous retrovirus-encoded tumor-associated antigen increases with age. Vaccine 26:1863-1873 (2008) [*equal contributors].

    Jordan KR, RH McMahan, JZ Oh, MR Pipeling, DM Pardoll, RM Kedl, JW Kappler, JE Slansky. Baculovirus-infected insect cells expressing peptide-MHC complexes elicit protective antitumor immunity. J Immunol 180:188-197 (2008).

    McMahan RH and JE Slansky. Mobilizing the low-avidity T cell repertoire to kill tumors. Sem Cancer Biol 17:317-329 (2007).

    McMahan RH, JA McWilliams, KR Jordan, SW Dow, DB Wilson, JE Slansky. Relating TCR-peptide-MHC affinity to immunogenicity for the design of tumor vaccines. J Clin Invest 116:2543-2551 (2006).

    Academic Affiliations

    Employer, University of Colorado Denver

    Teaching & Professional Positions

    Course director for Special Topics in Tumor Immunology (Immu 7602)
    Co-Course director for Blood and Lymph (IDPT 5003)

    Website Information

    Slansky Laboratory

    Contact Information

    • Office: 303.398.1887
    • Fax: 303.398.1396
    • Email: slanskyj@NJHealth.org



    • National Jewish Health Main Campus
      1400 Jackson St.
      Denver, CO 80206

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