Karolina Palucka among honorees at Connecticut Technology Council Women of Innovation Awards

Karolina Palucka, M.D., Ph.D., professor and associate director of cancer immunology at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), was among the honorees at the Connecticut Technology Council’s 12th Annual Women of Innovation Awards Gala in Plantsville, Conn., on April 6.

Palucka was honored in the Research Innovation and Leadership category for her work at the forefront of one of today's most promising areas of cancer treatment: cancer immunotherapies, which increase the strength of the body's own immune responses against tumors.

Palucka is an internationally recognized clinical oncologist and cancer immunologist, who came to The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in 2014 from the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research (BIIR) in Dallas, where she was the Michael A.E. Ramsay Chair for Cancer Immunology Research and director of the Ralph M. Steinman Center for Cancer Vaccines.

She conducts research to understand how vaccines work and to define precisely the immune mechanisms that underlie vaccination, with a focus on cancer immunotherapies. She is the first author of a recent article in the prestigious journal Cell that describes the latest advances and the next steps in cancer immunotherapy (also called oncoimmunology).

“Connecticut had the vision to create an excellent environment for research,” Palucka said. “My research program in cancer immunology is thriving, thanks to our collaborations with colleagues at JAX, UConn and other institutions, and of course our new, state-of-the-art facilities in Farmington.”

Another winner that evening has ties to The Jackson Laboratory: Helen Liu, a senior in the Amity Science Research Program at Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge, Conn., who was recognized in the Youth Innovation and Leadership category, was a 2015 participant in the Laboratory’s prestigious Summer Student Program.

The Connecticut Technology Council is Connecticut’s industry association for the technology sector.