Iosifina (IP) Foskolou PhD

Research interests

My lab aims to establish a research line on T cell metabolism and cancer immunotherapy. Our goal is to improve CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cell therapy against solid tumours by better understanding the environment CAR-T cells face both in tumours and in lymphoid organs.

T cell immunotherapy, hypoxia, tumour microenvironment


  • CAR-T cells
  • epigenetics and epitranscriptomics
  • T cell metabolism


Jan 2023 - current Group Leader at Sanquin
Oct 2021 - Dec 2022 PostDoc at Cambridge University, UK and Sanquin Research, NL
Sept 2017 – Oct 2021 Research Associate at Cambridge University, UK (Evelyn Trust Patrick Sisson’s Fellow, Darwin College)
Jan 2019 – Dec 2019 Affiliated with the Karolinska Institute, SE (Jonas Söderquists scholar for immunology research)
Jan 2017 – June 2017 PostDoc at Oxford University, UK
Sept 2012 – Jan 2017 DPhil student in Oncology (radiobiology) at Oxford University, UK
Feb 2010 – Feb 2012 MSc student in Molecular Medicine at the University of Athens, GR
Sept 2003 – Sept 2009 BSc student in Biology at the University of Athens, GR


Foskolou IP*, Cunha PP, Minogue E, Nicolet BP, Guislain A, Jorgensen C, Zandhuis ND, Barbieri L, Bargiela D, Nathanael D, Tyrakis P, Palazon A, Wolkers MC, Johnson RS*. The two enantiomers of 2-hydroxyglutarate differentially regulate cytotoxic T cell function. Cell Reports 2023 (doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2023.113013)

Minogue EA, Cunha PP, Quaranta A, Zurita J, Sah-Teli SK, Wadsworth B, Hughes R, Grice G, Velica P, Bargiela D, Barbieri L, Wheelock C, Nathan JA, Karppinen P, Foskolou IP, Johnson RS. Glutarate regulates T cell function and metabolism. Nature Metabolism 2023 (doi.org/10.1038/s42255-023-00855-2)

Cunha PP, Minogue E, Krause LCM, Hess RM, Bargiela D, Wadsworth B, Barbieri L, Brombach C, Foskolou IP, Bogeski I, Veliça P, Johnson RS. Oxygen levels at the time of activation determine T cell persistence and immunotherapeutic efficacy. Elife 2023 (doi.org/10.7554/eLife.84280)

Barbieri L, Velica P, Gameiro PA, Cunha PP, Foskolou IP, Rullman E, Bargiela D, Johnson RS, Rundqvist H. Lactate exposure shapes the metabolic and transcriptomic profile of CD8+ T cells. Frontiers in Immunology 2023 (doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2023.1101433)

Cunha PP, Bargiela D, Minogue E, Krause LCM, Barbieri L, Brombach C, Gojkovic M, Marklund E, Pietsch S, Foskolou IP, Branco CM, Velica P, Johnson RS. Infiltration of tumours I sregulated by T-cell intrinsic nitric oxide synthesis. Cancer Immunol Res 2022 (doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-22-0387.)

Bargiela D, Cunha PP, Velica P, Foskolou IP, Barbieri L, Rundqvist H, Johnson RS. Vitamin B6 Metabolism Determines T Cell Anti-Tumor Responses. Front. Immunol 2022 (doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2022.837669)

Matuleviciute R, Cunha PP, Johnson RS*, Foskolou IP*. TET-driven epigenetic alterations in hypoxia and cancer. The FEBS J. 2021 (doi.org/10.1111/febs.15695)

 Veliça P, Cunha PP, Vojnovic N, Foskolou IP, Bargiela D, Gojkovic M, Rundqvist H, Johnson RS. Modified Hypoxia Inducible Factor expression in CD8+ T cells increases anti-tumor efficacy. Cancer Immunol Res 2021 (doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-20-0561.)

Foskolou IP, Barbieri L, Vernet A, Bargiela D, Cunha PP, Veliça P, Suh E, Pietsch S, Matuleviciute R, Rundqvist H, McIntyre D, Smith KGC, Johnson RS. The S enantiomer of 2-hydroxyglutarate increases central memory CD8 populations and improves CAR-T outcome. Blood Adv 2020 (doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002309.)

Foskolou IP, Jorgensen C, Leszczynska KB, Olcina MM, Tarhonskaya H, Haisma B, D’Angiolella V, Myers WK, Domene C, Flashman E, Hammond EM. Ribonucleotide Reductase Requires Subunit Switching in Hypoxia to Maintain DNA Replication. Molecular Cell 2017 (doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2017.03.005.)


Other activities

  • Dutch Society for Immunology (NVVI) - Committee member
  • Editor of popular science book "Blood" (Cambridge University Press, September 2022. ISBN: 9781009205498)