AACR-Exelixis Renal Cell Carcinoma Research Fellowship

The AACR-Exelixis Renal Cell Carcinoma Research Fellowship represents a joint effort to encourage and support postdoctoral or clinical research fellows to conduct renal cell carcinoma research and to establish a successful career path. 

2021 grantee

Rodrigo Romero, PhD

Rodrigo Romero, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow 
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 
New York, New York 
Modeling renal cell carcinomagenesis using engineered renal organoids 

The clinical success of angiogenesis and immune checkpoint inhibitors over the past several years has led to significant improvement in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Genomic studies have identified recurrent genomic aberrations enriched in RCC; however, the functional consequences of alteration of these and other genes in the development of primary, metastatic disease, or therapy-resistant disease are ill defined. A thorough characterization of the complex interactions between mutational background and the renal tumor microenvironment (TME) will be critical to identify treatment strategies that enhance tumor control. Dr. Romero is set to leverage a new generation of preclinical models that aim to recapitulate the distinct immune contexts of different patient populations and compare these findings to human RCC analyses, which may guide development of improved immunotherapies and combination therapies.

Dr. Romero completed his PhD in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he researched how the antioxidant response influences lung cancer progression and how the activation of this response leads to therapeutically targetable vulnerabilities. He is currently conducting his postdoctoral work at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, studying the role of the tumor microenvironment in shaping effective or dysfunctional antitumor T cell responses.

Acknowledgment of Support
I would like to express my utmost gratitude to be selected as the 2021 AACR-Exelixis Renal Carcinoma Research Fellowship recipient. In addition to providing crucial financial support during this transformative phase of my scientific career, this grant will be instrumental in providing opportunities to build foundations in renal and tumor immunology.