Smita K Nair
Smita K Nair

Smita K Nair

Professor in Surgery


I have 22 years of experience in the field of cancer vaccines and immunotherapy and I am an accomplished T cell immunologist. Laboratory website:

Current projects in the Nair Laboratory:
1] Dendritic cell vaccines using tumor-antigen encoding RNA (mRNA, total tumor RNA, amplified tumor mRNA)
2] Local immune receptor modulation using mRNA that encodes for antibodies, receptor-ligands, cytokines, chemokines and toll-like receptors (current target list: CTLA4, GITR, PD1, TIM3, LAG3, OX40 and 41BB)
3] Combination therapies for cancer: cytotoxic therapy (radiation, chemo and oncolytic poliovirus therapy) with dendritic cell-based vaccines and immune checkpoint blockade
4] Adoptive T cell therapy using tumor RNA-transfected dendritic cells to expand tumor-specific T cells ex vivo
5] Adoptive T cell therapy using PSMA CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) RNA-transfected T cells
6] Direct injection of tumor antigen encoding RNA (targeting antigens to dendric cells in vivo using nanoparticles and aptamers)


Professor in Surgery in the School of Medicine

2021 School of Medicine

Professor in Pathology in the School of Medicine

2020 School of Medicine

Professor in Neurosurgery in the School of Medicine

2020 School of Medicine

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute in the School of Medicine

1993 School of Medicine


Ph.D. 1993

1993 University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Publications, Grants & Awards

DCI Centers, Cancer Types & Labs

Offices & Contact

Room 1077, MSRB-2
Durham, NC
Box 103035 Medical Center
Durham, NC