2007 Recipient Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD

Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD

Enhancing Immunity to Ovarian Cancer Tumors

Project Summary

Ovarian cancer utilizes a number of strategies to evade attack from the immune system. The goal of Dr. Odunsi’s project is to harness the immune system to improve treatment of ovarian cancer patients. In his study, he will focus on understanding how tumors produce an enzyme called IDO, which during pregnancy allows a fetus to escape a mother’s immune system, and in ovarian cancer acts similarly. He will also study why immune cells become less able to perform their killing function of tumor cells. His findings are likely to generate valuable information that is imperative for successfully utilizing the immune system to promote remission in ovarian cancer patients.

Areas of Research:


Chair, Gynecologic Oncology Executive Director, Center for Immunotherapy Co-Leader, Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Research Program Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Dr. Adekunle “Kunle” Odunsi is Chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Executive Director of the Center for Immunotherapy and Co-Leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy research program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He joined RPCI’s staff in 2001 as an Attending Surgeon in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Surgical Oncology. After earning his medical degree from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1984, Dr. Odunsi completed postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Rosie Maternity and Addenbrookes Hospitals, University of Cambridge, UK. He was admitted to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1991.

Dr. Odunsi completed a research fellowship in Molecular Oncology and earned his Ph.D. at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, UK. Subsequently, he completed residency training in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, and clinical fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at RPCI. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Odunsi is licensed by New York State and certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is also board certified in the sub-specialty of Gynecologic Oncology.

Dr. Odunsi’s research interests include the molecular characterization of tumor antigens in ovarian cancer and their application to the development of vaccine therapies for the disease.  He has authored or co-authored more than 140 journal publications and book chapters. He is Associate Editor for BMC Cancer. He also is an Ad Hoc Reviewer for the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, BLOOD, BMC Cancer, Cancer Immunity, Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, Cancer Letters, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy, Fertility and Sterility, Future Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, International Journal of Cancer, Journal of Clinical Pathology, Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, The Lancet, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Oncogene, Oncology PLoS ONE and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.