As a graduate student, my studies were interrupted briefly when I was diagnosed with and underwent treatment for localized breast cancer. My experience as a patient inspired me to apply my immunology skills to the field of cancer biology and translational immunotherapy. Cancer research saved my life, and I am dedicated to paying it forward.
Currently, I am a postdoctoral research fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. My mentor is Dr. Philip Greenberg, a recognized expert in developing genetically-engineered anti-tumor T cell therapies. In the lab, I am developing molecular engineering strategies to improve T cell killing in ovarian cancer, with the ultimate goal of translating my findings into treatment protocols for patients. I lead a team that uses patient samples to identify immunosuppressive features in the tumor microenvironment; we then use mouse models that recapitulate these features to evaluate strategies to improve the migration, persistence and function of genetically engineered T cells. My findings are intended to inform the development of adoptive T cell therapy tools for treating ovarian cancer patients, but the mechanisms I study are operative in many solid tumors and will likely have applicability to many other malignancies. Ultimately, my goal is to become an independent investigator in translational immunotherapy research.
I attended my first AACR conference in 2014, and since then I have attended many of the career development events organized by the AMC. I am honored and excited to be joining the council, and I hope to utilize my skills and experiences to develop further resources that will benefit other early-career scientists and serve the AACR Associate member community.