Susan Kaech, PhD

Professor and Director

NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis


Susan Kaech
Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Videos


From Then to When | Meet Salk Scientists | Susan Kaech

Susan Kaech is professor and director of the NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis and NOMIS Chair. She is an immunobiologist who aims to understand how memory T cells are produced during infection and vaccination, how they function, and why they can fail to induce long-term immunity during immunization. In particular, she seeks to learn how T cell behavior is suppressed by tumors, in order to create better therapies for cancer using the body's own immune system—an innovative and rapidly moving field called cancer immunotherapy.

Click to read video transcript»

How targeting killer T cells in the lungs could lead to immunity against respiratory viruses

LA JOLLA—A significant site of damage during COVID-19 infection is the lungs. Understanding how the lungs’ immune cells are responding to viral infections could help scientists develop a vaccine.

Now, a team of researchers led by Salk Professor Susan Kaech has discovered that the cells responsible for long-term immunity in the lungs can be activated more easily than previously thought. The insight, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine on June 11, 2020, could aid in the development of universal vaccines for influenza and the novel coronavirus. Read more »


BS, Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Washington
PhD, Developmental Biology, Stanford University


Awards & Honors

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2023
  • Mark Foundation for Cancer Research Endeavor Award, 2022
  • Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020
  • Howard Hughes Early Career Scientist, 2009
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2007
  • American Asthma Foundation Investigator, 2007
  • Cancer Research Institute Investigator Award, 2005
  • Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation Award, 2005
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biosciences, 2003
  • Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fellowship, 1999
  • National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, 1993