Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy: Researchers at Dana-Farber
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute joined forces with the prestigious Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in October 2017 to unite the most progressive cancer researchers in the United States. Dana-Farber is a leader in cancer research and brings a team of experts that collaborate with Parker Institute investigators to enhance and expand research projects and clinical trials across all cancers.
As part of the Parker Institute, several Dana-Farber researchers will have access to innovative tools, resources and services. They include clinical trial management, bioinformatics and data analysis and intellectual property management to help drive the research forward.
Judith Agudo, PhD
Judith Agudo, PhD, obtained her PhD in Biochemistry and Endocrinology from the University Autonomous of Barcelona in 2009, where she studied key factors involved in regeneration of pancreatic islets and metabolic control. She obtained a Fulbright scholarship in 2010 to perform her postdoctoral training in the Immunology Institute in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai with Dr. Brian Brown. During this time, she investigated molecular regulators of innate immunity and dendritic cell homeostasis and developed a novel technology called the Jedi to investigate T cell function and responses against virtually any cell, including stem cells. She joined Dana-Farber as a principal investigator in the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology in 2017. Her work at Dana-Farber exploits the Jedi and other developing technologies to elucidate how cancer cells evade T cell recognition.
Stephanie K. Dougan, PhD
Stephanie Dougan, PhD, received her PhD in immunology from Harvard University in 2007 after studying NKT cells and CD1d antigen presentation with Dr. Richard Blumberg. She then performed postdoctoral work at the Whitehead Institute with Dr. Hidde Ploegh. While at Whitehead, she collaborated with Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch to learn somatic cell nuclear transfer and generate a panel of transnuclear mice. Stephanie Dougan joined the Dana-Farber and Harvard faculty in 2014.
Laurie H. Glimcher, MD
Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, is the President and CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Director of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, and the Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Previously, she was the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean and Professor of Medicine of Weill Cornell Medicine and Provost for Medical Affairs of Cornell University. Dr. Glimcher is a distinguished immunologist, widely renowned for her work in one of the most promising areas of cancer research.
Dr. Glimcher's research identified key transcriptional regulators of protective immunity and the origin of pathophysiologic immune responses underlying autoimmune, infectious, and malignant diseases. Dr. Glimcher speaks nationally and internationally on cancer, immunology, and translational medicine and has contributed more than 350 scholarly articles and papers to the medical literature.
Aside from her research efforts, Dr. Glimcher has been a staunch proponent of improved access to care, health policy, and medical education, while simultaneously serving as a pioneering mentor and role model for cancer research trainees and for all women in science. Notably, she was the first female to be appointed as Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, and is the first female President and Chief Executive Officer of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Dr. Glimcher is a magna cum laude graduate of Radcliffe College and holds an MD degree cum laude from Harvard Medical School.
Robbie Majzner, MD
Robbie Majzner, MD, is Director of the Pediatric and Young Adult Cancer Cell Therapy Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital. He is focused on the development and deployment of immunotherapies for pediatric cancer. He received his MD from Harvard Medical School, followed by training in pediatrics at New York Presbyterian-Columbia and pediatric hematology-oncology at Johns Hopkins and the National Cancer Institute. His work in the laboratory centers on engineering platform technologies to improve the efficacy of CAR T cells in solid tumors and overcome therapeutic resistance. Concurrently, he is focused on translating laboratory advances in innovative clinical trials for children with incurable cancers.
Evanna Mills, PhD
Evanna Mills, PhD, graduated from Trinity College Dubin, Ireland, in 2016 and received her training at GlaxoSmithKline, UK and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology at Dana-Farber and the Department of Immunology at Harvard Medical School. Her lab’s research focuses on understanding how metabolites act as signaling molecules to regulate diverse biological processes. Her lab applies state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, biochemical, and genetic approaches to identify mitochondrial metabolic pathways that control the function of immune cells and how they contribute to the pathology of inflammatory and metabolic diseases, and cancer. They focus on elucidating these mechanisms at the cellular and whole-body level with a strong focus on both mechanism and in vivo relevance. A central theme of her lab is understanding and exploring the concept of metabolite exchange as a mode of inter-cell communication, with a principal focus on diverse macrophage populations.
Mohammad Rashidian, PhD
Mohammad Rashidian, PhD, is a Member of the Faculty in Dana-Farber’s Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota, where he conducted his doctoral work in the Chemical Biology program. Dr. Rashidian completed his postdoctoral training at the Whitehead Institute/MIT and then Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where he was involved in developing a method to noninvasively image immune responses. During his postdoctoral work, he was supported by a Cancer Research Institute fellowship (2015-2017) and then an American Cancer Society fellowship (2018). Dr. Rashidian joined the Dana-Farber and Harvard faculty in the summer of 2019. His research aims to better understand the underlying mechanisms of how the tumor microenvironment is shaped and is changed in response to cancer immunotherapies. His lab is focused on developing new and improved diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools to detect, diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer.
Rizwan Romee, MD
Rizwan Romee, MD, received his medical degree from Government Medical College Srinagar, India. He completed his postgraduate training and hematology and oncology fellowship at the University of Minnesota, where he also did his post-doctoral training in Dr. Jeffrey S. Miller’s laboratory. Afterward, Dr. Romee did an advanced bone marrow transplant fellowship at Washington University in Saint Louis, where he stayed on as faculty before moving to Dana-Farber. His research applies genetic manipulation to human Natural Killer (NK) cells to enhance their anti-tumor function and simultaneously modulate the tumor microenvironment.
Eric Smith, MD, PhD
Eric Smith, MD, PhD, moved to Boston after spending the early part of his career in New York. He earned his MD and PhD (Genetics and Genomic Sciences) from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he also trained as a research track resident in internal medicine. He then moved to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a medical oncology fellowship and further research training. Post-fellowship he stayed on at MSKCC, serving as faculty in the Center for Cell Engineering, Cellular Therapeutics Center, and the Myeloma Service before joining Dana-Farber. His research focuses on advancing the field of adoptive cellular immunotherapy and rapidly translating new treatments for patients with otherwise limited options. Dr. Smith's pre-clinical work has resulted in many awarded or pending patents; multiple cell therapy products stemming from his lab work have been translated to the clinic.
Eliezer Van Allen, MD
Eliezer (Eli) Van Allen, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Population Sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an Institute Member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a Member Researcher in The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. As both a medical oncologist and computational biologist, he develops algorithms to dissect high-dimensional data directly from cancer patients and uses these insights to address major open questions in the field. Dr. Van Allen’s research has led to significant advances in understanding the molecular origins of cancer, using artificial intelligence to discover novel resistance mechanisms to cancer therapies, and defining how genomics can guide clinical decision-making. Through these initiatives, he created the field of clinical computational oncology to advance and enable precision cancer medicine worldwide.
Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Dr. Van Allen studied Symbolic Systems at Stanford University, obtained his MD from UCLA, and completed a residency in internal medicine at UCSF before coming to Boston and completing a medical oncology fellowship in the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care program.
Catherine J. Wu, MD
At Dana-Farber, Catherine J. Wu, MD, has initiated an integrated program of research and clinical activities focusing on dissecting the underlying mechanisms of pathobiology of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) as a means to generate more effective therapies, including immune-based treatments for this common adult leukemia. She has been principal investigator of several center-initiated clinical trials, including trials of the NeoVax personalized antigen vaccine.
A major priority of Dr. Wu’s studies is the identification of tumor-specific antigens that would allow effective tumor targeting without collateral toxicity. She has been using exome and transcriptome sequencing technologies to identify unique mutated tumor antigens that arise from individual-specific genetic alterations within a tumor. The hope is that these could be potentially immunotherapy targets and could pave the way for developing personalized tumor vaccines.
Ming-Ru Wu, MD, PhD
Ming-Ru Wu, MD, PhD, received his medical degree from Tzu Chi University in Taiwan. In 2015, he obtained his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Dartmouth College, where he developed several natural killer cell receptor-based chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells, bi-specific T cell engagers (BiTEs), and tumor-targeting nanoparticles. He performed postdoctoral research at the Synthetic Biology Center at MIT, where he developed cancer-targeting gene circuits and high-throughput cell state-sensor engineering methods. In 2019, he joined Dana-Farber, where he is primarily focusing on harnessing the tools and design principles of synthetic biology to develop cell- and gene circuit-based cancer immunotherapy.
Katherine Blackmore, PhD
Katherine Blackmore, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Bruce Spiegelman’s lab in the Cancer Biology Department at Dana-Farber. Prior to joining Dana-Farber, she received her PhD in Molecular Medicine from George Washington University, Master’s degree in Regenerative Biology from the University of Illinois, and Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire. Her research interests involve delineating the intricacies through which exercise, autonomic input, and immune cell function influence tumor metabolism and the tumor microenvironment.
Yao Li, PhD
Yao Li, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Philip Kranzusch’s lab in the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology at Dana-Farber. Prior to joining Dana-Farber, she received her PhD in Chemical Biology at the University of California San Diego and her Bachelor’s degree from Minzu University of China. Her research explores diverse RNA signals in the innate immune system.