Dr Katherine Hanlon
Associate Editor: Katherine Hanlon
Dr. Katherine Hanlon is a Rita Allen Foundation scholar and the Director of Research at Presbyterian College with a faculty appointment in the School of Pharmacy. Dr. Hanlon received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics followed by a Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of Arizona. The Hanlon lab explores macrophage differentiation and function in biological systems with a particular focus on the functional implications of neuro-immune communication between neuronal cell bodies and tissue resident macrophages in the dorsal root ganglia as it pertains to nociception. Proinflammatory mediators released by peripheral immune cells contribute to the sensitization of nociceptors in response to injury, suggesting that modification of immune cell activity may alter plasticity and ultimately the perception of persistent pain. The Hanlon lab is working to target macrophages in to develop novel non-opioid targets for the treatment of pain.
A distinct but equally important point of focus in the Hanlon laboratory relates to modulation of tumor associated macrophage function in breast cancer. These are novel and timely investigations contributing to a growing body of research indicating that the need for toxic chemotherapeutic regimens may be lessened with the addition of immunomodulating compounds. To date, tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) have been incompletely studied as a potential immunomodulatory target to improve disease outcome, despite the demonstrated contribution of TAMs to tumor development. The Hanlon lab investigates novel pathways in the modulation of TAMs with the goal of developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of breast cancer and other solid tumors.