Dr. Janet M. D. Plate completed her Ph.D. at Duke University (1970) where she studied immunology, immunogenetics, biochemistry and microbiology. During these studies, Dr. Plate contributed to an understanding of the linkage of HLA subgroups and immune cellular responses activated within them. As an American Cancer Society postgraduate fellow at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital her research demonstrated that renal (kidney) transplant recipients could be matched with familial donors through mixed lymphocyte culture assays, that there were subsets of T-cells and that soluble factors from these could augment immune cellular response. Further, her research there revealed that non-T-cells were responsible for the activation of T-cells. She then joined the Harvard University School of Public Health faculty in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. There, her research continued to define cytokine activity in T-cell responses.
Later, on Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center faculty, her research demonstrated that cytokines supported the development of cytolytic T-cells directed against antigens on tumor-cell targets, that regional lymph node cells activated by allogeneic skin grafts produced cytokines that supported cytolytic T-cells development and that interleukin-1 functioned via cell surface receptors. Heading a research lab in the Section of Medical Oncology, Dr. Plate investigated the role of cytokines in the growth of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemic Cells, then examined the signals triggered through their membrane associated receptors, and studied mechanisms to induce apoptosis of CLL cells. Her research also examined the immune systems of pancreatic cancer patients including effects of chemotherapy on immune cells in clinical trials. Dr. Plate’s research also demonstrated that Lyn, a Src Family Kinase, regulates activation of epidermal growth factor receptors in lung adenocarcinoma cells and suggested that targeting specifically of Lyn could lead to their death.
In addition to the National Cancer Center’s Scientific Advisory Board’s Grant Review Committee, Dr. Plate has served on national grant review committees for: NASA; American Association for Cancer Research; National Institutes of Health – Division of Research Grants/Centers for Scientific Review Study Sections; National Cancer Institute; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. Dr. Plate also served as a research review committee member for the Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society, as a scientific advisor for the Illinois Cancer Council, and as a Medical Advisory Board member for the Leukemia Research Foundation.