Robert Bright, PhD
Robert Bright, Ph.D.
Office Phone: 806-743-4592
IRTA Fellow: National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (1996)
PhD: University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio (1994)
BS: University of Idaho (1987)
Robert K. Bright is a Professor and Graduate Program Advisor for the Department of Immunology and Molecular Microbiology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. Dr. Bright graduated from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho with a B.S. degree in Bacteriology (emphasis biochemistry) in 1987. After some time on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army he was hired as a Research Associate at the SW Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, TX. Dr. Bright enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio in the fall of 1989. He was recalled to active duty in the U.S. Army in the fall of 1990 and served until June of 1991 in the combat zone in support of Operation Desert Storm. Returning to graduate studies in the fall of 1991 Dr. Bright earned a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio in 1994. Upon completion of his doctoral studies Dr. Bright moved to Bethesda, Maryland where he was awarded an Intramural Research Training Award Fellowship to study tumor immunology in the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. In late 1996 he was recruited to the Karmanos Cancer Institute and the Department of Surgery at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan where he assumed a position of Assistant Professor. Two years later Dr. Bright was recruited to the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute and the Robert Franz Cancer Center at the Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland, Oregon where he served as Chief of Prostate Cancer Biology until February Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Outstanding Teacher and Student Advocate Award, 2006. He was recognized, in 2011, by the DOD Prostate Cancer Research Program as an Innovative Mind in Prostate Cancer Research for his work on cancer vaccines. Dr. Bright has served and currently serves on numerous national grant review committees to include the American Cancer Society, the DOD/ Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, NASA and the National Institutes of Health. He has also served as Chair for several grant review committees. Dr. Bright also serves as an expert reviewer for several scientific journals including the Journal of Immunology, Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy, the Journal of Immunotherapy, Vaccine, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for the journal ISRN Immunology. His research focuses on tumor immunity with emphasis on the development of vaccines against cancer and has been funded by the National Cancer Institute/NIH, the American Cancer Society and the DOD CDMRP Prostate Cancer Research Program. Dr. Bright has published over 50 manuscripts and several book chapters and reviews on tumor immunology and cancer vaccines. of 2002. In 2002 Dr. Bright was recruited as an Associated Professor to the Department of Immunology and Molecular Microbiology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Dr. Bright has received several honors and awards to include the University of Texas Health Sciences Center Armand J. Guarino Award for Academic Excellence in Doctoral Studies (top graduate student), the National Institutes of Health Fellows Award for Research Excellence (top 10% of postdoctoral fellows), a Research Scholars Award from the American Cancer Society and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Extensive studies over the past few decades have established that cancer patients can mount immune responses against their own tumor(s), and that these responses can be effectively manipulated to treat patients with cancer by using defined targets isolated from the tumor cells, known as tumor associated antigens as vaccines. Recently the National Cancer Institute sponsored a pilot project to prioritize cancer vaccine target antigens for translational research. The study involved developing a set of nine “ideal” cancer antigen criteria/ characteristics, with 1) therapeutic function, 2) immunogenicity and 3) a role in oncogenicity deemed as having the greatest importance. From a growing but representative list of antigens, a group defined as over-expressed self-proteins stands out as the group with the largest number of potentially important target antigens. My research at present has focused on tumor immunology and cancer vaccines, which can be categorized by work in: a) the discovery and validation of novel tumor associated antigens using genomics and proteomics, b) the design of vaccine strategies and c) the study of mechanisms that impede effective vaccine induced immunity to include CD4+ and CD8+ regulatory T cells. Our systems biology efforts along these lines have led to the discovery of a novel cancer over-expressed self onco-protein, Tumor Protein D52, which is an active focus of our research. Tumor protein D52 (D52) is involved in cellular transformation, proliferation and metastasis and thus has a role in oncogenicity. Expression microarray analyses predict D52 over-expression in many other cancer types, including multiple myeloma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, testicular germ cell tumors, and melanoma. We have reported that vaccines targeting D52 elicit tumor-specific T cells but only limited tumor protection in murine models of cancer. Data from these D52 vaccine studies suggest that a subset of CD8+ T cells plays a regulatory role in suppressing vaccine induced D52-specific immunity and may play a role suppressing immunity to self proteins in general. A deeper understanding of the regulation of immunity to self onco-proteins is critical for the development of successful cancer vaccines. Our goal is to develop D52 as a systemic therapy or vaccine against cancer. Since D52 is over-expressed in many malignancies the long-term clinical impact could be wide reaching.
Current and Former Students and Postdocs:
- Revathi Govind, Ph.D., 2005. Microbial Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- Enusha Karunasena, Ph.D., 2005. Microbial Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- Colby Layton, Ph.D., 2006. Microbial Pathogenesis, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- Landon Westfall, Ph.D., 2006. Microbial Pathogenesis, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- James Schaber, Ph.D., 2006. Microbial Pathogenesis, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- Matthew R. Fogle, Ph.D. 2007, Microbial Pathogenesis, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- Summer Ketron-Adkins, M.S. 2008, Immunology, Biology, TTU,. Dental student UTHSC, Houston, TX.
- Mona Shehata, Ph.D., 2007. Cancer Genetics, Molecular Oncology Laboratory, Oncology Research Unit, Children’s Hospital at WestMeade,
- Sidney, Australia. Fellow, London, England.
- Devin B. Lowe, Ph.D. 2010, Tumor Immunology, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX. Adjunct Assistant Professor, TTUHSC, Abilene.
- Heather Decker, M.S., 2010, Tumor Immunology, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- Joel Aldrich, summer 2015, TTU. Ph.D.; 2012, Tumor Immunology, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX. Earned JD (co-Mentored with Dr. Ronald Kennedy).
- Gurvinder Kaur, Ph.D., 2012, Transplantation T1D, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX. Post-doc fellow, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, TTUHSC, Lubbock TX.
- Eric Veggeberg, M.S., 2012, Tumor Immunology, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- Rosabel Loya, M.S., 2012, Tumor Immunoloyg, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX. Podiatry School, Miami, FL.
- Bhagavathi Ramasubramanian, Ph.D., 2012. Microbial Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- Payal Mital, Ph.D., 2013. Transplantation T1D, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX. Post-doc fellow, Pennsylvania.
- Jake Everett, Ph.D. 2015, Microbial Pathogenesis, Immunology and Molecular Microbiology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
- Somnath Pandey, Ph.D. 2016, Cancer Epigenetics, Immunology and Molecular Microbiology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX
- Cynthia Reinoso-Webb, Ph.D. 2017, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Immunology and Molecular Microbiology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX
- Kandis Wright, M.D., Ph.D. candidate, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX
- C. Riccay Elizondo, Ph.D. candidate, Immunology & Molecular Microbiology, TTUHSC, Lubbock, TX.
Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Associates, Residents, and Fellows:
- Eric T. Kimchi, M.D., 1998-1999. Present Position: Faculty, Surgery, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.
- LiBang Yang, M.D., Ph.D., 2000-2002. Present Position: Senior Associate, University of Minnesota Cancer Center, Minneapolis, MN.
- Rui Li, PhD. 2000-2002. Present Position: Senior Research Associate, Franz Cancer Center, Portland, OR.
- Jason Hurt, MD. Spring 2005-2008. Medical Director-Oncology, Medpace, Cincinnati, OH.
- Stephanie Villareal, MD student, June-August, 2010. Medical Student Summer Research Program
- Jaime Camocho, MD student. June- August, 2015. Medical Student Summer Research Program.
Undergraduate Students, High School Students, and Other Individuals:
- Shahana Baig, 1999-2001. 40 hours per week during summer. Graduated Medical School.
- Matthew Lewis, 2001. 40 hours per week during summer. Graduated Medical School.
Grace, Tarng, June 2003- September 2003, 10-15 hrs/ week, HHMI research fellow, TTU.
- Dung Nguyen, June 2005- August 2005, 15- 20 hrs/week, JAMP, (UT, Austin)
- Devin Lowe, June 2003-2005, HHMI research fellow (TTU), TTU Honors College, Co-advisor on Devin’s thesis and thesis work. Ph.D., 2010, TTUHSC. Adjunct Assistant Professor, TTUHSC, Abilene, TX.
- Laura A. Payton, 2003-2006. 20 hours per week, 12 months per year. Cancer Vaccine Strategies in Murine Tumor Models (Thesis Advisor). HHMI research fellow, TTU, TTU Honors College. Ph.D., 2010, UT Southwestern, Dallas, TX. Expert Consultant, Boston, MA.; Senior Scientist Genentech San Francisco,CA
- Adam Wolfe, 2007-2009. Proteomics-based Identification of Novel Targets in Cancer.
HHMI research fellow, TTU. Doctoral (MD/PhD) Candidate at UTHSC, Houston, TX, June
Emily Powell, 2010-2011. 20 hours per week, 12 months per year. Assessing the Role of TPD52 in Tumor Cells with RNAi-Based Expression Analysis . HHMI research fellow, TTU. Ph.D. candidate, Chemistry, UT at Austin.
- Ksenija Korac, 2016-2017. Molecular Analysis of T cell responses to the neo-TAA TPD52. TTU Biochemistry, Lubbock TX.
- Bright RK. (2017). Arming the Immune System for the War on Cancer. Research Features. 114:16-19. http://cdn.researchfeatures.com/3d_issues/issue114/html5/index.html
- Bright RK. (2016). Cancer Vaccines: The next generation immunotherapy. Int. J. Vaccines and Immunization Feb. 2(1): https://www.sciforschenonline.org/journals/vaccines/article-data/IJVI-2-105/IJVI-2-105.pdf
- Bright RK and Mamula MJ. (2015). Regulation of adaptive immune responses to self-antigens in cancer and autoimmunity. Curr Trends Immunol. 15:47-57.
- Bright RK, Bright JD and Byrne JA. (2014). Overexpressed Oncogenic Tumor-Self Antigens:
New Vaccine Targets. Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, 10:3297-305.
Byrne JA, Frost S, Chen Y, and Bright RK. (2014).Cancer Biology: Tumor protein D52 (TPD52 ) and cancer: oncogene understudy, or understudied oncogene? Tumour Biol 35:7369-82,2014.
- Bright JD, Aldrich JF, Byrne JA and Bright RK. (2014). Vaccination with the Prostate Cancer Over-Expressed Tumor Self-Protein TPD52 Elicits Protective Tumor Immunity and a Potentially Unique Subset of CD8+ T Cells Austin J Clin Immunol.1(2):1-13. http://www.austinpublishinggroup.com/clinical-immunology/fulltext/ajci-v1-id1007.php
- Bright JD, Schultz HN, Byrne JA and Bright RK. (2013). Injection Site and Regulatory T Cells Influence Durable Vaccine-Induced Tumor Immunity to an Over-Expressed Self Tumor Associated Antigen. OncoImmunology 7(2):(e25049) 1- 11.