Elizabeth Repasky


Research Interests:

Stress and Tumor Immunity, Thermal Stress, Immunotherapy, Tumor Microenvironment and Physiology

About Elizabeth Repasky


Dr. Elizabeth Repasky is a Distinguished Member of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Professor of Oncology, the William Huebsch Professor of Immunology, and Program Leader for the Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapies Program. She is originally from Western Pennsylvania, graduating from Seton Hill University with a BA in Biology. She received her PhD from SUNY Buffalo and did a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Repasky’s research program focuses on exploration of stress and its physiological and immunological consequences so that we can better understand how to manipulate stress to improve the efficacy of cancer therapies, including radiation, chemotherapies and immunotherapies. A major passion for her has been her research in the area of thermal stress, and the impact of thermoregulation on the anti-tumor immune response. This interest has led her to new research projects in the lab focusing on understanding why patients with cancer often “feel cold” despite having a normal core body temperature and the impact of thermal stress on metabolism and anti-tumor immunity. Dr. Repasky is a 2015 awardee of the J. Eugene Robinson Award from the Society for Thermal Medicine (STM) and the STM 2018 William C Dewey Award. She is a Section Editor for the International Journal of Hyperthermia and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Immunology. During her career, she has authored or co-authored over 200 research publications and has received longstanding support from the NIH. Training and mentorship have been very important to her during her career and she has served as major advisor to 24 PhD students and 12 Postdoctoral Fellows, nearly all of whom have gone on to become successful members of the research, academia or bio-tech communities.


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Distinguished Member and Professor of Oncology
  • The Dr. William Huebsch Professor in Immunology
  • Vice Chair, Department of Immunology
  • Co-Leader, Cancer Stress Biology Program


Education and Training:

  • PhD - Anatomy, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY


  • 1982 - Cell Biology - California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

Professional Memberships:

  • American Association of Immunologists
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • Cell Stress Society International
  • Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer
  • Society of Thermal Medicine
  • Radiation Research Society

Honors & Awards:

  • 2019 - Distinguished Biomedical Alumnus, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo
  • 2018 - Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Educational Affairs, Graduate Student Association Award for Faculty Excellence in Mentoring and Teaching
  • 2018 - Recipient of the “Roswell Pride in Member Ingenuity” Award (RPMI)
  • 2018 - William C. Dewey Award for “Mentorship and Training of New Investigators” (Society for Thermal Medicine)
  • 2015 - Appointed to RPCI Mentorship Committee, to define new strategies to improve mentorship
  • 2011 - RPCI Faculty Award for “Excellence in Mentoring”
  • 2007 - Appointed Program Leader: Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapies; Cancer Center 2018
  • 2004 - Named the William Huebsch Professor of Immunology
  • 2003 - “I am Roswell” Award for Most Inspired and Inspiring Mentor
  • 2002 - RPCI “Outstanding Mentor Award” for Scientific Training of Clinical Fellows

Featured on Cancer Talk


Full Publications list on PubMed


Mace T, Zhong L, Kilpatrick C, Zynda E, Lee CT, Capitano ML, Minderman H, Repasky EA. Differentiation of CD8+ T cells into effector cells is enhanced by physiological range hyperthermia. J  Leukoc Biol. 2011; 90(5):951-62. PMID:21873456, PMCID: PMC3206471 

Hylander BL, Punt N, Tang H, Hillman J, Vaughan M, Bshara W, Pitoniak R, Repasky EA. Origin of the vasculature supporting growth of primary patient tumor xenografts. J Transl Med 2013; 11(1):110. PMID:23639003, PMCID: PMC3660244

Kokolus KM, Capitano M, Lee CT, Eng J, Hylander BL, Waight JD, Sexton S, Hong CC, Gordon CJ, Abrams SI, Repasky EA. Baseline Tumor Growth and Immune Control in Laboratory Mice are Significantly Influenced by Sub-thermoneutral Housing Temperature PNAS 2013 Dec 10;110(50):20176-81. PMID:24248371, PMCID:PMC3864348.

Eng JWL, Reed CB, Kokolus KM, Pitoniak R, Utley A, Bucsek MJ, Ma WW, Repasky EA*, Hylander BL*. Housing temperature-induced stress drives therapeutic resistance in murine tumour models through β2-adrenergic receptor activation. Nat Commun 2015 Mar 10;6:6426. PMID: 25756236, PMCID: PMC4471870, Shared senior authorship.

Leigh ND, Kokolus KM, O’Neill RE, Du W, Eng JWL, Qiu J, Chen GL , McCarthy PL, Farrar JD, Cao X, Repasky EA. Housing temperature-induced stress is suppressing murine Graft-versus-Host Disease through β2-adrenergic receptor signaling. J Immunol 2015 Nov 15;195(10):5045-54, PMID: 26459348, PMCID: PMC4637222

Hylander BL, Repasky EA. Thermoneutrality, mice and cancer: A heated opinion. Trends in Cancer 2016 2(4):166-175. Online April 22, 2016   10.1016/j.trecan.2016.03.005, PMID: 28741570 

Bucsek MJ, Qiao G, MacDonald CR, Giridharan T, Evans L, Niedzwecki B, Liu H, Kokolus KM, Eng JW, Messmer MN, Attwood K, Abrams SI, Hylander BL, Repasky EA. β-adrenergic signaling in mice housed at standard temperatures suppresses an effector phenotype in CD8+ T cells and undermines checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Cancer Res 2017 77(20):5639-5651. PMID: 28819022, PMCID: PMC5645237

Qiao G, Bucsek MJ, Winder NM, Chen M, Giridharan T, Olejniczak SH, Hylander BL, Repasky EA. β-Adrenergic signaling blocks murine CD8+ T-cell metabolic reprogramming during activation: a mechanism for immunosuppression by adrenergic stress. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019 Jan;68(1):11-22. PMID: 30229289; PMCID: PMC6326964.

MacDonald CR, Bucsek MJ, Qiao G, Chen M, Evans L, Greenburg DJ, Uccell TP, Battaglia NG, Hylander BL, Singh AK, Lord EM, Gerber SA, Repasky EA. Adrenergic signaling regulates the response of tumors to ionizing radiation. Rad Res. 2019 Jun;191(6):585-589, PMID: 31021732, PMCID: PMC6774253

Mohammadpour H, MacDonald CR, Qiao C, Chen M, Dong B, Hylander BL, McCarthy PL, Abrams S, Repasky EA.  β2 adrenergic receptor-mediated signaling regulates the immunosuppressive potential of myeloid-derived suppressor cells.  J. Clin Invest 2019 Dec 2;129(12):5537-5552. PMID: 31566578, PMCID: PMC6877316

Chen M, Qiao G, Hylander BL, Mohammadpour H, Wang XY, Subjeck JR, Singh AK, Repasky EA. Adrenergic stress constrains development of anti-tumor immunity and abscopal responses following local radiation. Nat Commun. 2020, Apr 14;11(1):1821PMID: 32286326, PMCID: PMC7156731

Mohammadpour H, Sarow JL, MacDonald CR, Chen GL, Qiu J, Sharma, UC, Cao X, Herr MM, Hahn TE, Blazar BR, Repasky EA, McCarthy PL.  β2-Adrenergic receptor activation on donor cells ameliorates acute GvHD, JCI Insight 2020  Jun 18;5(12):e137788. PMID:32437333, PMCID: PMC7406296

Gandhi S, Pandey MR, Attwood K, Ji W, Witkiewicz AK, Knudsen ES, Allen C, Tario JD, Wallace PK, Cedeno CD, Levis M, Stack S, Funchain P , Drabick JJ, Bucsek MJ, Puzanov I, Mohammadpour H , Repasky EA, Ernstoff MS.  Phase I clinical trial of combination propranolol and pembrolizumab in locally advanced and metastatic melanoma: Safety, Tolerability, and Preliminary Evidence of Antitumor Activity. Clin Cancer Res 2021, Jan 1;27(1):87-95.  PMID: 33127652, PMCID: PMC7785669