"The immunotherapy revolution in the fight against cancer has just begun. To fully harness the power of the immune system to destroy different types of cancers requires a much deeper understanding of the molecular and spatial relationships between lymphocytes and tumors. This is our charge."
I moved to Genentech in 2014 from Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. I had been a faculty member there for over a decade, focusing on immunology and stromal biology research. The decision to leave a dynamic academic mecca to carry out my research at Genentech was inspired by the tremendous opportunity to apply principles established in rigorous basic science to making real-life medicines. As a basic scientist, there’s no better place to be involved in the process of developing an immunotherapy from A to Z that may positively impact patient outcomes than Genentech.
For me, being a postdoc mentor is about the incredible satisfaction from doing cutting-edge science with eager, smart, determined and creative trainees while encouraging them to reach their potential. It is also about giving back to the scientific community by teaching the next generation of investigators, sharing my experiences and expertise, and nurturing their careers. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as a mentor in Genentech’s world-class postdoctoral program and fortunate to also learn from these talented trainees, both in the laboratory and beyond. They are a select group of outstanding scientists.
Cancer Discov. 2020 Feb;10(2):232-253.
The mission of my research team is to establish a deep understanding of stromal cell function in inflammation and cancer, develop novel approaches to modulate the stromal microenvironment and validate the efficacy of stromal-targeted therapies in augmenting protective immunity.
Within lymphoid organs non-hematopoietic stromal cells organize, support, and instruct lymphocytes and dendritic cells in immunologically impactful ways. Stromal cells organize lymphoid organ architecture into discrete T and B cell zones and express essential lymphocyte survival factors. Additionally, stromal cells support the migration and interactions between antigen presenting cells and T and B cells during the generation of immune responses, influencing the outcome between tolerance and immunity. Stromal cells also play instrumental roles in coordinating immune responses in non-lymphoid tissues and may serve as key players in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, cancer and chronic infection. In emerging efforts, stromal cells are being harnessed for therapeutic applications in a number of different clinical indications, an area that holds great promise for improving human health. My laboratory investigates the roles that distinct populations of stromal cells play in mature and aging tissues, and in shaping innate and adaptive immunity. We are interested in elucidating the molecular circuitries between lymphoid stromal determinants, myeloid cells and lymphocytes and their functional consequences. The hope is that our science will illuminate fundamental biology of stromal cells and in turn advance the treatment of immunological diseases and cancer.