Keerthana Shankar

330 North Orchard Street, Room 4135C-2
Madison WI 53715
Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers
Joined WID: 2019

Virus-free CAR Natural Killer (CAR) NK cell therapies for solid tumors


Keerthana was born in Chennai, India but moved to Virginia at 10 years old. She considers Richmond, VA as home. In undergrad, Keerthana majored in biomedical engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University with a focus in cell and tissue engineering. Outside the lab, Keerthana enjoys spending time with friends, trying out new restaurants and coffee shops, going to concerts, and is always on the search for her next new house plant.


BS, Biomedical Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University

Research Description

My research focuses on manufacturing CAR expressing peripheral blood natural killer (PB-NK) cells using virus-free methods. Currently, there is no method to insert large transgenes such as CARs into NK cells without using viral vectors. However, the use of viruses can lead to insertional mutagenesis and a heterogenous cell product. As such, I'm interested in leveraging CRISPR technology to develop a precise method to insert CARs into targeted loci within NK cells to produce a potent cell product to treat solid tumors.