Pathology and Labatory Medicine
I matriculated into the MD program at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2015 and was accepted into the MD-PhD program in the summer of 2017.
My long-term goal is to translate basic immunology research into clinical trials for the treatment of advanced cancer.
During my undergraduate studies, while taking my first immunology course, I saw a cartoon depicting a highly personalized form of cancer therapy in which the patient's own T-cells were used as a "living drug". That slide on the projector truly sent chills through my body. Immunotherapy immediately resonated with me as a logical form of cancer treatment with vast potential efficacy. Since that time, I have been infatuated with any article related to cancer and T-cells, adoptive cell transfer, immune-checkpoints, cytokines, vaccines, or the immune system at large. During the first two years of my medical education, I was fortunate enough to find a clinical mentor, Dr. Joseph McGuirk, who is the director of the division of hematologic malignancies and cellular therapeutics at KUMC. Dr. McGuirk facilitated my exposure to patients receiving immunotherapy and the process of initiating and enrolling patients in immunotherapy based clinical trials. During this time, I learned of the collaboration that is required between industry and academic medical centers in order to host clinical trials and advance immuno-oncology. I participated in meetings regarding new and ongoing clinical trials involving KUMC and Juno Therapeutics, Kite Pharma, and Iovance Biotherapeutics. These experiences solidified my long-term goal of becoming a translational immuno-oncologist. Presently, I am working towards my PhD in Dr. Andrew Godwin's laboratory. Dr. Godwin recognized my passion and allowed me to initiate a project focused on developing new methods to expand tumor infiltrating lymphocytes - a field which was not being investigated by the lab prior to my entry.
The opportunities my mentors created for me have strengthened my resolve to expand the number of adoptive cellular therapies which are available for the treatment of cancer.
Mentor: Andrew K. Godwin, Ph.D.