Kasey Couts, PhD, Recipient of Young Investigator AwardMay 11, 2022
|Kasey Couts, PhD, has been awarded the Melanoma Research Alliance Young Investigator Award for her research: Targeting anti-tumor immunity in anatomically distinct mucosal melanomas. Dr. Couts is an Assistant Professor of Research in the Division of Medical Oncology. Additionally, she serves as co-director for the CU Center for Rare Melanomas where she and her co-director Bill Robinson, MD, PhD, aim to build a comprehensive clinical and research center dedicated to understanding and treating rare melanomas.
Rare types of melanomas including acral, mucosal, and ocular are considered melanomas but are very different diseases that remain not well understood resulting in less effective treatments for patients with these rare disease types.
Mucosal melanomas have poor anti-tumor immunity compared to cutaneous melanomas with preliminary data showing widespread epigenetic silencing of innate immunity and other critical immune-related genes in mucosal melanoma. Dr. Couts hopes to provide insight as to how this relates to anti-tumor immunity and response to immune checkpoint inhibition, which still remains unclear.
Congratulations Dr. Couts!