2019-2020 Duke-UNC Immunotherapy Training Program Postdoctoral Fellows
Joshua J. Bies, MD
Research Mentor: Barbara Savoldo, MD, PhD
My research interests are in the use of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells in solid tumors, with a focus on pediatric malignancies and sarcomas. This involves confirming appropriate targets, and determining ways to overcome the challenges of solid tumors and immunotherapy such as tumor heterogeneity, antigen escape, and the immunosuppressive microenivornment.
William Cameron McManigle, MD
Research Mentor: Stefanie Sarantopoulos, MD, PhD
After graduating from the College of William & Mary, I completed a post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award fellowship at the NIH. While at the NIH, I engaged in weekly rounds with the Immunotherapy Fellowship Training Program within the National Cancer Institute, where I was first introduced to concepts including targeted immunotherapy. I decided to learn how to conduct research devoted to improving both safety and efficacy of immunotherapies for cancer. As a medical student at Duke University, utilizing a mouse model of human adult bone marrow transplantation, I investigated the role of specific T-cell populations and associated cytokines in chronic graft-versus-host disease of the lung. After medical school, I remained at Duke to complete Internal Medicine residency and then sub-specialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. I have actively fostered a specific clinical interest in pulmonary complications of hematologic malignancy and cellular therapy and am caring for these patients in both the inpatient and outpatient clinic settings. The intersection of immunology, pulmonology and intensive care led me to join Dr. Sarantopoulos’ laboratory, to learn how to address pertinent, impactful questions using both human patient samples and mouse models, while obtaining in-depth training in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Nicholas Tschernia, MD
Research Mentor: Barbara Savoldo, MD, PhD & Benjamin Vincent, MD
My research focus: I am a Hematology / Oncology fellow at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and have a deep rooted interest in the development of cellular therapy for hematologic and solid malignancies. My areas of active interest include: the expansion of our CAR-T cell therapy pipeline to include specific solid malignancies, such as nonseminomatous germ cell tumors, and a collaboration with our Immunocompromised Infectious Disease Division for a prospective biomarker trial evaluating the microbiome of CAR-T patients. In addition, I am working on a multi-institution collaborative endeavor through the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), called Project TimIOs, spanning 14 young investigators at 10 different institutions. This latter projects goal is to develop an unbiased database of immunotherapy outcomes in order to conduct both unsupervised and supervised analysis of existing RNA-seq datasets from pre-treatment biopsies. With the intent to identify immune gene expression signatures distinguishing pre-specified clinical 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.
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.