Kathleen R. Bartemes, Ph.D., is an immunologist whose primary research interest is the impact of medical intervention on the immune cell compartment. Dr. Bartemes studies how immune cells are affected by treatment of diseases as diverse as chronic rhinosinusitis, asthma and human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Understanding these changes will aid in identifying markers of disease progression, predicting recurrence after treatment and tailoring treatment to the individual patient.
Using multidimensional data collection methods, such as imaging and suspension mass cytometry, Dr. Bartemes analyzes immune cells within affected tissue and peripheral blood. This analysis includes characterizing the prevalence and activation of immune cell subsets after treatment or during disease progression. Her studies advance understanding of both the disease process and the response to treatment.
- Impact of therapeutic treatment on the immune compartment. Using multidimensional techniques, including suspension and imaging mass cytometry, and conventional methods, such as flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Dr. Bartemes seeks to identify changes in the immune cell repertoire after surgical or other medical intervention. Further, she compares immune changes at locoregional and systemic sites.
- Immune biomarkers for monitoring stable disease and predicting risk of recurrence. Recurrence of cancer cells (polyps) occurs long before it can be detected. Discovery of easily monitored biomarkers that are associated with risk of recurrence will facilitate surveillance and detection. These biomarkers may also provide clues to preventing recurrence.
- Accessibility of multiparameter data analysis. Multidimensional data collection creates large data sets that require analysis approaches and software unfamiliar to many investigators with expertise in lower dimensional data collection. Dr. Bartemes is focused on developing infrastructure to make multidimensional methods available to all investigators by aiding in navigating analysis techniques.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Bartemes works in tandem with clinicians in rhinology, head and neck surgery, and allergy to identify immune profiles that uniquely define disease subtypes and differentiate effective responses from ineffective responses. Her goals are to develop minimally invasive diagnostic and surveillance tools and identify novel therapeutic targets that will streamline patient care, reduce recurrences and provide better outcomes.