Robert Holt

Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

Areas of interest

The main focus in our lab (located at the BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre) is understanding and potentiating the anti-cancer immune response. Increasingly cancer is being seen as a disease of immune failure, and in the field considerable effort is being focused on evoking and/or potentiating anti-tumor immunity. In our group, we are taking many approaches in both patient and animal studies to isolate and expand tumor-specific T cells, and to genetically engineer them for improved efficacy. We also develop high-throughput genomic, proteomic and bioinformatic methods to probe the cellular immune system, with a focus on antigen discovery. In addition to immunology, we also touch on aspects of microbiome research, brain research and evolutionary biology in our group.


  • BSc Biology, University of British Columbia
  • PhD Pharmacology, University of Alberta
  • PDF Molecular Evolution, State University of New York

Selected Publications

  • Holt RA. Immunogenomics: a foundation for intelligent immune design.Genome Medicine. 2015;7:116. doi:10.1186/s13073-015-0247-y. Read more.
  • Gibb EA, Warren RL, Wilson GW, et al. Activation of an endogenous retrovirus-associated long non-coding RNA in human adenocarcinoma. Genome Medicine. 2015;7(1):22. doi:10.1186/s13073-015-0142-6. Read more.
  • Surveillance of the Tumor Mutanome by T Cells during Progression from Primary to Recurrent Ovarian Cancer. Darin A. Wick, John R. Webb, Julie S. Nielsen, Spencer D. Martin,David R. Kroeger, Katy Milne, Mauro Castellarin, Kwame Twumasi-Boateng,Peter H. Watson, Rob A. Holt, and Brad H. Nelson. Clin Cancer Res March 1, 2014 20:1125-1134; Published OnlineFirst December 9, 2013; doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-2147. Read more.
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