Dr. Gay Crooks is Professor and Rebecca Smith Chair in the Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Crooks serves as Co-Director of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center and Director of the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The research focus of her lab has been informed by her clinical role as a pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant physician at UCLA, and encompasses four related areas of interest: 1. The cellular and molecular characterization of human hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and early lymphoid development, 2. Mechanisms of growth and differentiation of the thymic micro-environment during development and after transplantation, 3. Development of hematopoiesis and other mesoderm derivatives from human pluripotent stem cells (PSC), and 4. Manipulation of T cell differentiation from HSC and PSC for cancer immunotherapy.
Dr. Dudakov is an Assistant Member in the Program in Immunology as part of the Clinical Research Division and the Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington. Dr. Dudakov graduated with a PhD in Immunology and Stem Cell Biology from Monash University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Immunology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. In 2016 Dr. Dudakov moved to Seattle to establish his lab in at the Fred Huth. The Dudakov lab is working to understand the mechanisms underlying natural thymic regeneration so that new therapies can be developed to enhance T cell immunity. Such interventions would be extremely valuable for patients who undergo thymus-damaging radiation and/or chemotherapy, including the generally aggressive “conditioning” required before hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Targeted thymic regeneration could also significantly benefit individuals with T cell deficiencies due to aging, genetic causes (such as severe combined immunodeficiency), chronic infectious disease (such as HIV), or radiation injury (such as from nuclear accident).
Daniel Gray is interested in how immune cells make life-or-death decisions and the implications of defects in this process on cancer. He completed his PhD at Monash University in Melbourne with Professor Richard Boyd, studying how the stromal cells of the thymus govern thymocyte differentiation. He then moved to Boston for his postdoctoral studies in Diane Mathis and Christophe Benoist’s laboratory at the Harvard Medical School. There he focused on how autoimmune diseases are initiated in the Aire-deficient mouse model. Daniel was then recruited back to Melbourne to work with Andreas Strasser at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute on the interface between defects in apoptosis and autoimmune diseases. He started his independent team in 2013 and became the Joint Head of the Immunology Division in 2019.
Helen Heslop is Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, and the Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital. She is also Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Dan L Duncan Cancer Comprehensive Center. Dr Heslop is a physician scientist engaged in translational research focusing on adoptive immunotherapy with gene-modified effector cells, to improve hemopoietic stem cell transplantation and cancer therapy. An additional focus in reconstituting antiviral immunity post transplant and she has led an NHLBI-funded multicenter trial of allogeneic multivirus specific T cells. She therefore has extensive experience in developing and conducting transplant studies and cell and gene therapy studies and currently holds over 20 INDs. She was a Doris Duke distinguished clinical research scientist and is an elected member of the American Association of Physicians. She serves as Principal Investigator on several peer-reviewed research programs, including an NCI-funded program project grant (Enhancing T-Cell Therapy of Cancer) a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) award (Immunotherapy of Lymphoma), the Meg Vosberg Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team in T cell lymphoma and a SPORE in lymphoma from the NCI. She is also the principal investigator on an NHLBI-funded training grant in Cell and Gene Therapy and Chair-elect of the BMT-CTN. She is a past President of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT), the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplant (ASBMT) and the Foundation for Accreditation of Cell Therapy (FACT).
Dr. Hofmeister joined TCR² Therapeutics in 2015 as the Senior Vice President of Research and Development. He brings nearly two decades of scientific leadership and a successful track record of drug discovery and early development. Previously, Dr. Hofmeister was the Vice President of Immuno-Oncology at EMD Serono where he was involved in the development of now approved Bavencio® (avelumab) and building the company’s immuno-oncology platform. He started his biotech career at Micromet AG, now Amgen Research Munich, where he helped shape the development of Blincyto®, the first FDA-approved bispecific antibody for the treatment of relapsed/refractory ALL. Dr. Hofmeister received his PhD from the University of Regensburg in Germany, where he studied the signaling of the cytokine interleukin-1. He continued to work in the cytokine field as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Andras Nagy is a Shawn Kimel Senior Scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System, Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto, Investigator at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Professor at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute in Monash University, Melbourne. He holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Stem Cells and Regeneration. He also has a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada in the Life Sciences Division of the Academy of Science and is a Foreign Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Nagy has made significant breakthroughs in the development of mouse and human pluripotent stem cells (both embryonic and induced) that could accelerate research in regenerative medicine and lead to future therapies for currently incurable diseases, such as blindness, diabetes, arthritis, spinal cord injury and many others. His team created the first two Canadian human embryonic stem cell lines and developed a novel method for generating non-viral induced pluripotent stem cells. His current research focuses on understanding the process of reprogramming to stem cells at the molecular level and by using sophisticated genome editing methodology, he aims to pave the way to safe and effective cell based therapies for many complex diseases.
Professor Miles Prince is an internationally recognised Australian haematologist and Professor/Director of Cancer Immunology and Molecular Oncology at Epworth Healthcare and a haematologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He is a very active clinician-researcher and is a Chief Investigator of an NHMRC Cancer Immunology Program Grant examining novel immunotherapies. He has been involved in numerous clinical trials of new therapies for blood cancers and has been the Principal Investigator of over 200 clinical trials. He has published over 430 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Health & Medical Sciences.
Clare is a Senior Research Fellow at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Her current research interests are in understanding the interaction between the immune system and cancer, and in the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer. These interests include the use of genetically modified T cells (CAR T cells) to treat solid cancers. Clare has published over 30 papers in high-impact journals including first and last authorships in Nature Medicine, PNAS, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research and Cancer Discovery. She has obtained over $2M research funding, including 3 fellowships and 5 CIA project grants. Her accomplishments have been acknowledged with a number of awards including the Seymour and Vivian Milstein Young Investigator Award for notable contributions to basic and clinical research in Switzerland (2012), a Joseph Sambrook Award in Research Excellence (2014), and the respected Mavis Robertson Award (2018) that is given each year to a female principal investigator considered to exhibit the greatest promise as a leader in breast cancer research in Australia.
Professor White is the Director: Cancer Program and Deputy Precision Medicine Theme Leader at SAHMRI. She is a NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Research Fellow, a Beat Cancer Prinicpal Research Fellow, and Professor in both Health and Medical Sciences and The Sciences at the University of Adelaide.
Deb’s research focus is genomics and rationally targeted therapies in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and she holds several peer reviewed international and national grants. Professor White has presented > 170 scientific papers, authored > 100 publications and is an inventor on several patents.
Deb is the National Flagship Lead for the ALL Stream of Australian Genomics, and SA scientific lead for Zero Children’s Cancer and an Editor for Cancer Letters.
In 2014 she was recognised as the ASMR Leading Light and in 2016 awarded the University of Adelaide James McWha medal. In 2019 she was awarded a NHMRC Research Excellence Award.
Juan Carlos (JC) Zúñiga-Pflücker is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology, University of Toronto, and a Senior Scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute. He is a Canada Research Chair in Developmental Immunology. He received a Ph.D. in Genetics-Immunology from the George Washington University, Washington DC, USA, with his graduate studies performed at the National Cancer Institute, USA. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA. His research centers on the study of hematopoiesis, Notch signaling, thymus biology and T lymphocyte lineage commitment and differentiation, with a focus on developing model systems for the study of human T lymphocyte development from stem cells, and the generation of T cells for immune-regeneration and immune-regulatory therapies. His laboratory developed the OP9-DL system and discovered how to generate T cells from stem cells.