Richard J Simpson, PhD

Clinical and Translational Oncology Program

Biography

Dr. Simpson completed his training in exercise physiology and immunology at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland before spending nine years as a faculty member at the University of Houston. He studies the effects of exercise and stress on the immune system. Major cross-cutting themes of his work are aging (immunosenescence), cancer and spaceflight, with a particular interest in how adrenergic receptor signaling can be used to improve cellular products for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy. He serves on the editorial board of the following journals: Brain, behavior & Immunity; Immunity and Ageing; and Exercise Immunology Reviews. His current research is supported by NASA and the National Cancer Institute. 

Cancer Focus

Dr. Simpson is interested in complementary approaches to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and adoptive transfer immunotherapy for the treatment of both blood cancers and solid tumors. He is currently using approaches that target beta-2 adrenergic receptor signaling (e.g. exercise, isoproterenol infusion) to improve the composition of allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell grafts with the view to minimizing graft-versus-host-disease and evoking stronger graft versus leukemia effects. He is also interested in the anti-tumor potential of gamma-delta T-cells and NK-cells and how these can be manufactured ex vivo and used therapeutically to treat a wide range of malignancies.