Who We Are

We are an internationally diverse group of scientists who share a common passion: scientific discovery.  Here at AU, we blend our expertise and creativity to discover new ways to harness the power of the immune system to treat disease. If you are interested in joining our team, please email us!

Lynn Hedrick, PhD


Catherine 'Lynn' Hedrick, PhD

Georgia Research Alliance Bradley Turner Eminent Scholar in Vascular and Cancer Immunology
Head, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation, and Tolerance (CIIT) Division of the Georgia Cancer Center
Co-Director, Immunology Center of Georgia
Professor, Department of Medicine
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University


What We Study

Immune cells are central to our health and are key cellular players in fighting disease. Innate immune myeloid cells, (including monocytes, dendritic cells, neutrophils, and macrophages) are early responder immune cells that sense pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and even tumor cells, and then orchestrate their killing.  Our laboratory studies these myeloid cells in health, cardiovascular disease, and cancers. Key new projects are to determine how these innate immune cells differ in healthy men and women and in healthy people from different ethnicities, and how these differences impact disease susceptibility.

We utilize high dimensional immunoprofiling methods, including CyTOF mass cytometry and single cell RNA sequencing to study myeloid cells in healthy humans, and in human subjects with heart disease and cancer. We use our discoveries to create new molecular targets of disease and to predict responses to immunotherapy.

Contact Us

The Hedrick Lab

Health Sciences Campus

Georgia Cancer Center - M. Bert Storey Research Building


Research Team

photo of Layne Benson, BS

Layne Benson, BS

  • Graduate Research Assistant

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United States of America

photo of Gabriel Valentin-Guillama, PhD

Gabriel Valentin-Guillama, PhD

  • Post-doc Fellow

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Puerto Rico

photo of Yali Zhu, PhD

Yali Zhu, PhD

  • Research Manager

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United States of America

photo of Ravi Komaravolu, PhD

Ravi Komaravolu, PhD

  • Research Scientist

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photo of Mikhail Fomin, MS

Mikhail Fomin, MS

  • Research Associate

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United States of America

photo of Hridya Divakaran, MS

Hridya Divakaran, MS

  • Research Programmer Analyst 2

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photo of Natalia Jaeger, PhD

Natalia Jaeger, PhD

  • Post-doc Fellow

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photo of Sabrina Robichaud, PhD

Sabrina Robichaud, PhD

  • Post-doc fellow

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photo of Aleksandr (Sasha) Taraskin, PhD

Aleksandr (Sasha) Taraskin, PhD

  • Post-doc Fellow

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Ahmad Alimadadi, PhD

  • Principal Research Scientist

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photo of Nandini Chatterjee, MS

Nandini Chatterjee, MS

  • Bioinformatics Specialist 2

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United States of America

Current Research Interests

Related to cancer:

How does lipid metabolism in macrophages impact the tumor microenvironment to regulate tumor growth?

Here, we study specialized mouse models of lipid metabolism and blood from human cancer patients to understand how lipid pathway changes in myeloid cells alter tumor growth. Methods include working with human clinical sample analysis, tumor mouse models, immunoprofiling, high parameter flow cytometry, CyTOF, bioinformatics, and metabolic studies.

How do monocytes recognize tumor cells that are undergoing metastasis?

Select subsets of monocytes are critical in orchestrating the killing of tumor cells as they are traveling through the vasculature to new seeding sites. Here we seek to understand how these cells selectively identify the metastatic tumor cell. Methods include working with tumor mouse models, immunoprofiling, high parameter flow cytometry, RNa sequencing, intravital live cell imaging.

How do monocytes and macrophage cell subsets influence cardiovascular events that occur in cancer patients?

Some cancer patients receiving therapy develop cardiovascular complications, the understanding of which is the emerging field of cardio-oncology. Here, we will study monocyte subsets and functions in cancer patients who develop cardiovascular complications. Methods include working with human blood samples, immunoprofiling, high parameter flow cytometry, functional assays, and bioinformatics approaches.


Related to atherosclerosis:

How are monocytes changed in atherosclerosis progression?  Are there specific functional markers that can be utilized to prevent disease progression? How do they influence T and B cell adaptive responses?

Monocytes play several key roles in atherosclerosis, but we still don’t mechanistically understand how we can better enhance them or target them to control atherosclerosis progression. Here, we study monocytes in human subjects with low to high cardiovascular disease severity to answer these questions using flow cytometry, single cell RNA sequencing, bioinformatics approaches, genetic mouse models of monocyte subsets, and functional assays.


Are there sex and ethnic differences present in monocyte subsets that change how they function in atherosclerosis?

Females develop less atherosclerosis until menopause. Ethnic differences in atherosclerosis progression have been reported. Here, we study how sex and ethnicity impacts monocyte function in cardiovascular disease. High dimensional immunoprofiling, epidemiology, bioinformatics and functional assays will be utilized to answer these questions.