I spent nearly 30 years of my career in industry, at various positions in four biotech companies (three start-up and one medium sized), and two large pharmaceutical companies. My focus has always been on the application of innovative discovery science to problems of human health. In the early part of my career, this focus was applied to drug discovery, but increasingly in later years, to developing methods to identify potential responders to existing drugs.
I left industry and joined the Systems Immunology Division of BRI as a visiting scientist in September 2012. BRI offers the resources and access to clinical samples necessary for patient-centered approaches to biological research. I now run my own laboratory at BRI, developing cutting edge Systems Immunology approaches to biomarker, target, and responder identification.
My career in industry taught me the value of team approaches to science. We now work closely with a critical mass of immunologists, bioinformaticians, and programmers. Together, we have a fantastic opportunity to make basic discoveries that impact patient health.
Area Of Research
Below are the main areas of research currently ongoing in the laboratory:
Determining the molecular basis for different rates of T1D progression. We are using cutting edge systems biology approaches to identify cellular and molecular markers in whole blood that characterize the preservation of beta cell function in newly diagnosed subjects with T1D (non-progressors). Our goal is to identify RNAseq and/or cellular signatures in whole blood that characterize non-progressor responses to different therapies and during natural history, and to determine whether these signatures are unique or treatment-specific.
Determining T cell ancestry and phenotypes from RNAseq analysis of individual antigen-specific T cells. We have developed a novel single-cell RNAseq approach for determining both TCR sequences and full transcriptome phenotypes from individual antigen-specific T cells. We are using this approach to elucidate clonotype/phenotype relationships of antigen-specific T cells in disease progression and response to therapy of subjects with autoimmune disease or cancer.
Elucidating immune processes in tumors that affect patient survival and response to therapy. We are developing novel transcript module approaches for analyzing tumor RNAseq profiles for pre-defined sets of co-regulated immune genes. We have shown that expression of immune genes within certain tumor types may be linked to patient survival. We are using this approach to identify new responder populations and targets for cancer immunotherapy.