• Portrait of Sam Kung
  • Professor

    Max Rady College of Medicine
    417 Apotex Centre - 750 McDermot Avenue
    University of Manitoba
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0T5

    Phone: 204-480-1301

Research themes

  • Cancer immunology
  • NK-cell biology
  • Immunotherapy

Research interests

  • Regulation of NK-cell migrations, effector functions in steady-state or in disease setting
  • NK-DC crosstalks


  • Dendritic cells
  • Gene therapy
  • Immunity
  • Immunology
  • Lentiviral vectors
  • Natural killer cells
  • Tolerance

Research affiliations

  • Director, Core Platform of shRNA libraries and lentiviral vector production

Research groups

  • Elected council member, Canadian Society of Immunology
  • CancerCare, Breast Cancer Research Group
  • Prairie Infectious Immunology Network
  • Society for Natural Immunity
  • Manitoba Epigenetics Network
  • Child Health Research Institute Manitoba
  • American Society of Gene Therapy
  • Canadian Society of Immunologists

Research summary

Some of his current research activities include:

  • Identifying factors that regulate NK-cell development and/or functions
  • Development of a platform for the applications of lentiviral vector system in basic and biomedical research. The laboratory reported a successful protocol to support efficient genetic engineering of primary natural killer (NK) cells
  • Development of novel platform to perform live cell analysis of natural killer cell migrations in natural killer-dendritic cells crosstalk, and tumor microenvironments.
  • Examination of impact of different microenvironment on NK-cell functions.
  • NK-cell based immunotherapy

Natural Killer (NK) cells are critical in regulating anti-viral and tumor immunity. NK-cell functions and migration are tightly regulated. Upon activation, NK cells will exert their effector functions (such as cytotoxic activity and/or production of signature cytokines) directly and/or indirectly via “crosstalks” of other immune cell types. The Kung laboratory uses cellular approaches, molecular approaches and novel platforms (lentiviral vectors gene therapy, microfluidics) to study the following factors:

  • regulate natural killer cell differentiation and functions
  • natural killer cell-dendritic cell crosstalk
  • NK-cell migrations under different microenvironments

This research will support development of novel NK-cell based immunotherapy of cancers.


Dr. Sam Kung is a professor in immunology in the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba.

He received his B.Sc. and MPhil degrees from University of Hong Kong. His PhD work, under supervision of Dr. Richard Miller at University of Toronto studied receptor recognition of natural killer cells. His post-doctoral training in the area of lentiviruses and gene therapy was done in the lab of Dr. Irvin S.Y. Chen at UCLA.

At University of Manitoba, Dr. Kung established a CFI-funded laboratory which focused on understanding how microenvironments (tumor, DC) help shape the NK cell development, recruitment and/or NK cell effector functions.

Dr. Kung has been a reviewer for CIHR, CFI, NSERC, CCSRI, Terry Fox Research Institute, Frontiers in Immunology and Frontiers in Oncology.


  • PhD, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Toronto (1998)
  • Master of philosophy, University of Hong Kong (1992)
  • B.Sc., Biochemistry, University of Hong Kong (1988)


  • 2019, Excellence in Teaching Award. Immunology Department, University of Manitoba
  • 2019, U Manitoba Undergraduate Research Award to Derek Fisk.
  • 2009, Excellence in Teaching Award. Immunology Department, University of Manitoba.
  •  Manitoba
  • 2006-2009, Manitoba Medical Service Foundation Basic Science Career
  •  Development Research Award ($75,000)
  • 2007, Travel and Conference Sponsorship Program, University of Manitoba ($1,000)
  • 2006, Excellence in Teaching Award. Immunology Department, University of Manitoba
  • 1998-2001, National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC), Terry Fox Junior Postdoctoral Fellowship ($96,033) 
  • 1998, Amgen Postdoctoral Fellowship ($27,000)
  • 1996, National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) Travel Award ($2,000)
  • 1995-1998, National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC), Steve Fonyo Research Studentship ($57,000)
  • 1994-1995, Connaught Scholarship, University of Toronto (Canada) ($11,000)
  • 1992-1994, University of Toronto Open Master Fellowships (Canada) ($13,600)
  • 1989-1991, Mary Sun Memorial Medical Scholarship (Hong Kong) (HKD$30,000)

Contact us

Max Rady College of Medicine
Apotex Centre
Room 471, 750 McDermot Avenue
University of Manitoba (Bannatyne campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0T5 Canada