Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

Todd Schell, PhD

Todd Schell, PhD

Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Scientific Program:Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis
Disease Teams:
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Research Interests

Dr. Todd Schell's research focuses on defining immune-based therapies for cancer. His interests include evaluating approaches to improve the persistence and function of tumor-reactive T lymphocytes within the tumor microenvironment. These studies have defined how tumor-reactive T-cells behave in distinct types of cancer including those that occur in the brain, pancreas, prostate and skin. Emphasis is placed on the use of adoptive T-cell therapies as well as defining how existing immune-based therapies currently used in cancer patients can be further improved.

Recent studies from the Schell laboratory highlight how antibody-based therapies targeting CD40 or PD-1 can be improved through combination with existing approaches such as radiation or common medications such as beta-blockers. Through collaborations with clinical investigators, translational studies focus on identification of patient characteristics that are associated with durable clinical responses to immune-based therapies, particularly for metastatic melanoma.

In addition to his research, Dr. Schell is the faculty director of Penn State College of Medicine's Flow Cytometry Core Facility.

  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Neoplasms
  • Epitopes
  • Therapeutics
  • Transgenic Mice
  • Neoplasm Antigens
  • Viral Tumor Antigens
  • Simian virus 40
  • Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes
  • Melanoma
  • Immunotherapy
  • Polyomavirus Transforming Antigens

Clinical Trials

General Protocol for the Acquisition of Whole Blood for the Detection and Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells and/or Tumor Specific Immunity/Immune Cell Activation for any Malignancy at any Stage of Disease
Definition of Somatic Variants Corresponding to Immune Targets in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma
A Retrospective Evaluation to Understand how â-adrenergic Antagonism Impacts the Progression of Melanoma and the Efficacy of Standard Treatments Intended to Eliminate the Cancer

Recent Publications


Jia, B, Zhao, C, Bayerl, M, Shike, H, Claxton, DF, Ehmann, WC, Mineishi, S, Schell, TD, Zheng, P, Zhang, Y, Shultz, LD, Prabhu, KS, Paulson, RF & Zheng, H 2021, 'A novel clinically relevant graft-versus-leukemia model in humanized mice', Journal of Leukocyte Biology.


Jia, B, Zhao, C, Rakszawski, KL, Claxton, DF, Christopher Ehmann, W, Rybka, WB, Mineishi, S, Wang, M, Shike, H, Bayerl, MG, Sivik, JM, Schell, TD, Drabick, JJ, Hohl, RJ & Zheng, H 2019, 'Eomes+T-betlow CD8+ T cells are functionally impaired and are associated with poor clinical outcome in patients with acute myeloid leukemia', Cancer Research, vol. 79, no. 7, pp. 1635-1645.
Feng, Q, Stork, CJ, Xu, S, Yuan, D, Xia, X, LaPenna, KB, Guo, G, Sun, H, Xu, LC, Siedlecki, CA, Brundage, KM, Sheaffer, N, Schell, TD & He, P 2019, 'Increased circulating microparticles in streptozotocin-induced diabetes propagate inflammation contributing to microvascular dysfunction', Journal of Physiology, vol. 597, no. 3, pp. 781-798.
Zhao, C, Jia, B, Wang, M, Schell, TD, Claxton, DF, Ehmann, WC, Rybka, WB, Mineishi, S, Naik, S, Songdej, N, Sivik, JM, Hohl, RJ, Zeng, H & Zheng, H 2020, 'Multi-dimensional analysis identifies an immune signature predicting response to decitabine treatment in elderly patients with AML', British Journal of Haematology, vol. 188, no. 5, pp. 674-684.


Bazewicz, CG, Dinavahi, SS, Schell, TD & Robertson, GP 2019, 'Aldehyde dehydrogenase in regulatory T-cell development, immunity and cancer', Immunology, vol. 156, no. 1, pp. 47-55.
Jia, B, Wang, L, Claxton, DF, Ehmann, WC, Rybka, WB, Mineishi, S, Rizvi, S, Shike, H, Bayerl, M, Schell, TD, Hohl, RJ & Zheng, H 2018, 'Bone marrow CD8 T cells express high frequency of PD-1 and exhibit reduced anti-leukemia response in newly diagnosed AML patients', Blood Cancer Journal, vol. 8, no. 3, 34.
Ward-Kavanagh, LK, Kokolus, KM, Cooper, TK, Lukacher, AE & Schell, TD 2018, 'Combined sublethal irradiation and agonist anti-CD40 enhance donor T cell accumulation and control of autochthonous murine pancreatic tumors', Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 639-652.
Li, G, Liu, D, Kimchi, ET, Kaifi, JT, Qi, X, Manjunath, Y, Liu, X, Deering, T, Avella, DM, Fox, T, Rockey, DC, Schell, TD, Kester, M & Staveley-O'Carroll, KF 2018, 'Nanoliposome C6-Ceramide Increases the Anti-tumor Immune Response and Slows Growth of Liver Tumors in Mice', Gastroenterology, vol. 154, no. 4, pp. 1024-1036.e9.
Sinha, R, Sinha, I, Calcagnotto, A, Trushin, N, Haley, JS, Schell, TD & Richie, JP 2018, 'Oral supplementation with liposomal glutathione elevates body stores of glutathione and markers of immune function', European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 72, no. 1, pp. 105-111.
Haeryfar, SMM & Schell, TD 2018, 'PD-1/PD-L1 co-inhibition shapes anticancer T cell immunodominance: facing the consequences of an immunological ménage à trois', Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, vol. 67, no. 11, pp. 1669-1672.
Kokolus, KM, Haley, JS, Koubek, EJ, Gowda, R, Dinavahi, SS, Sharma, A, Claxton, DF, Helm, KF, Drabick, JJ, Robertson, GP, Neighbors, JD, Hohl, RJ & Schell, TD 2019, 'Schweinfurthin natural products induce regression of murine melanoma and pair with anti-PD-1 therapy to facilitate durable tumor immunity', OncoImmunology, vol. 8, no. 2, e1539614.


Kokolus, KM, Zhang, Y, Sivik, JM, Schmeck, C, Zhu, J, Repasky, EA, Drabick, JJ & Schell, TD 2018, 'Beta blocker use correlates with better overall survival in metastatic melanoma patients and improves the efficacy of immunotherapies in mice', OncoImmunology, vol. 7, no. 3, e1405205.
Zhu, L, Kong, Y, Zhang, J, Claxton, DF, Ehmann, WC, Rybka, WB, Palmisiano, ND, Wang, M, Jia, B, Bayerl, M, Schell, TD, Hohl, RJ, Zeng, H & Zheng, H 2017, 'Blimp-1 impairs T cell function via upregulation of TIGIT and PD-1 in patients with acute myeloid leukemia', Journal of Hematology and Oncology, vol. 10, no. 1, 124.
Chen, KM, Schell, TD, Richie, JP, Sun, YW, Zhang, SM, Calcagnotto, A, Aliaga, C, Gowda, K, Amin, S & El-Bayoumy, K 2017, 'Effects of chronic alcohol consumption on DNA damage and immune regulation induced by the environmental pollutant dibenzo[a,l]pyrene in oral tissues of mice', Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part C Environmental Carcinogenesis and Ecotoxicology Reviews, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 213-222.
Koller, KM, Mackley, HB, Liu, J, Wagner, H, Talamo, G, Schell, TD, Pameijer, C, Neves, RI, Anderson, B, Kokolus, KM, Mallon, CA & Drabick, JJ 2017, 'Improved survival and complete response rates in patients with advanced melanoma treated with concurrent ipilimumab and radiotherapy versus ipilimumab alone', Cancer Biology and Therapy, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 36-42.
Cladel, NM, Budgeon, LR, Balogh, KK, Cooper, TK, Brendle, SA, Christensen, ND, Schell, TD & Hu, J 2017, 'Mouse papillomavirus infection persists in mucosal tissues of an immunocompetent mouse strain and progresses to cancer', Scientific reports, vol. 7, no. 1, 16932.
Memarnejadian, A, Meilleur, CE, Shaler, CR, Khazaie, K, Bennink, JR, Schell, TD & Haeryfar, SMM 2017, 'PD-1 blockade promotes epitope spreading in anticancer CD8+ T cell responses by preventing fratricidal death of subdominant clones to relieve immunodomination', Journal of Immunology, vol. 199, no. 9, pp. 3348-3359.
Li, G, Liu, D, Cooper, TK, Kimchi, ET, Qi, X, Avella, DM, Li, N, Yang, QX, Kester, M, Rountree, CB, Kaifi, JT, Cole, DJ, Rockey, DC, Schell, TD & Staveley-O'Carroll, KF 2017, 'Successful chemoimmunotherapy against hepatocellular cancer in a novel murine model', Journal of Hepatology, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 75-85.
Liu, D, Li, G, Avella, DM, Kimchi, ET, Kaifi, JT, Rubinstein, MP, Camp, ER, Rockey, DC, Schell, TD & Staveley-O'Carroll, KF 2018, 'Sunitinib represses regulatory T cells to overcome immunotolerance in a murine model of hepatocellular cancer', OncoImmunology, vol. 7, no. 1, e1372079.
Maru, S, Jin, G, Schell, TD & Lukacher, AE 2017, 'TCR stimulation strength is inversely associated with establishment of functional brain-resident memory CD8 T cells during persistent viral infection', PLoS pathogens, vol. 13, no. 4, e1006318.

Clinical Trials Search

Children (age < 18 years)
Adults (age >= 18 years)