2020-2021 Duke-UNC Immunotherapy Training Program Postdoctoral Fellows
Xavier Baldwin, MD
Research Mentor: Stephanie Downs-Canner, MD
I am currently a fourth year general surgery resident at the University of North Carolina. My goal is to become a surgeon-scientist using translational science to improve the current therapies for solid organ tumors along with future development of novel treatments. My current project is focused on evaluating the role of tumor-associated antibodies in activation of the complement pathway in triple negative breast cancer during treatment with checkpoint inhibitors.
James Isaacs, MD
Research Mentor: Scott Antonia, MD, PhD, and Jeffrey Clarke, MD
My research interests surround the development of novel immunotherapies in solid tumors with a focus on cellular therapies utilizing tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. This includes laboratory based correlative biomarker evaluation of clinical trials. We also utilize tumor-derived organoids with tumor infiltrating lymphocyte co-culture to evaluate tumor-immune microenvironment interactions as a pre-clinical model. Both methods can guide rational early phase clinical trial design.
Anson Snow, MD
Research Mentor: Paul Armistead, MD, PhD, and Leaf Huang, PhD
I am currently a second-year hematology/oncology fellow at the University of North Carolina. My interest lies in understanding and discovering immunotherapies for malignant hematologic diseases. I am presently focusing on engineering an mRNA nanoparticle vaccine for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The goal is to create a vaccine that could be given post-allogenic stem cell transplant in AML patients to establish robust anti-leukemia immunity leading to improved outcomes.
Timothy Voorhees, MD
Research Mentor: Jonathan Serody, MD & Anne Beaven, MD
I am currently a third-year fellow in the clinical hematology/oncology fellowship at the University of North Carolina. I have a clinical interest in malignant hematology, specifically lymphomas. My research interest is in Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies and rare lymphomas. My current projects focus on both clinical response and changes to immunomodulation which occur with anti-PD-1 therapy after CD30 directed CAR-T cell therapy in relapsed/refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Melodi Javid Whitley, MD, PhD
Research Mentor: Amanda McLeod, MD
As a Dermatology trainee, I hope to apply my expertise in cancer biology, animal modeling, and translational research to understanding the immunological mechanisms underlying UV-induced carcinogenesis. My research aims to investigate the role of the immune system and purinergic signaling in UV-induced carcinogenesis. Specifically, I am studying the mechanisms by which ENTPD1, an ectonucleotidase expressed by intratumoral regulatory T-cells in cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas, modifies extracellular concentrations of ATP metabolites to downregulate the DNA damage repair pathway. By better understanding the interplay between UV radiation and adaptive immunity to promote carcinogenesis, this work may contribute to new methods of skin cancer prevention and treatment. Specifically, I am interested in the application of this knowledge to the management of melanoma and NMSC in high risk populations.
Mark Woodcock, MD
Research Mentor: Chuck Perou, PhD & Benjamin Vincent, MD
My goal is to become a physician-scientist using immunogenomics methods to better understand the tumor immune microenvironment and developing biomarkers guiding novel and existing immune therapies for cancer. My current work is focused on examining the pleural fluid of patients with malignant effusions to better describe the interaction of the immune system and cancer cells. We use a combination of flow cytometry, advanced cytokine assays, and single-cell RNA-seq to identify the activation states of immune cells, including T- and B-cell subclones. By comparing these across multiple patients, we aim to discover patterns in treatment response or resistance that can be used to guide therapy choices for cancer patients in the future.