Dr. Allison is a Co-Founder of Jounce Therapeutics and currently serves as chair of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Immunology and director of the Immunotherapy Platform. A leading tumor immunologist, Dr. Allison has a longstanding interest in mechanisms of T cell development and activation, the development of novel strategies for tumor immunotherapy and is recognized as the first person to isolate the T cell antigen receptor protein. His research led to the clinical development of ipilimumab (Yervoy®), which was approved in 2011 by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Previously, he was Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy and Chair of the immunology program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, as well as the David H. Koch Chair in Immunologic Studies and attending immunologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Previously, he served as President of the American Association of Immunologists. He has received worldwide recognition for his contributions. Most recently, Dr. Allison is the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Allison and Dr. Tasuku Honjo were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation. Dr. Allison also received the Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, the Canada Gairdner International Award, the Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for Innovative Cancer Immunology Research. Dr. Allison received his B.S. in microbiology and his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Texas.
Dr. Brenner is the founding director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy and the Fayez Sarofim Distinguished Service Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Human and Molecular Genetics. He is also a member of the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center, the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center, and the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Brenner has devoted his career as a physician-scientist to the field of stem cell transplantation through the therapeutic use of T cell immunologic approaches and genetic engineering strategies. He served as Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Therapy and as former President of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) and International Society for Cell Therapy. Dr. Brenner has earned widespread recognition for his scientific achievements and leadership in the field, including the ASGCT Outstanding Achievement Award, Human Gene Therapy’s Pioneer Award, and the American Society of Hematology Mentor Award. Most recently Dr. Brenner has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine for his contributions. He obtained his BA and medical degrees as well as his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the UK where he became a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and the Royal College of Physicians. Dr. Brenner is a co-founder of ViraCyte, LLC.
Dr. Heslop is Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, and Texas Children’s Hospital. She is the Dan L. Duncan Chair and the Associate Director of Clinical Research at the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center. Trained as a physician-scientist, Dr. Heslop is a prominent figure engaged in translational research focusing on adoptive T cell immunotherapy to improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cancer therapy. In collaboration with Drs. Brenner and Rooney, her initial studies were the first to demonstrate the feasibility of using EBV-specific T cells to prevent and treat EBV-associated malignancy in stem cell transplant patients, thereby validating the safety and efficacy of adoptive T cell transfer as a therapeutic modality. Dr. Heslop was a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Research Scientist and serves as the current President elect of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) and a past President of the Foundation for Accreditation of Cell Therapy (FACT) and the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. She received her M.B.ChB, M.D. and D.Sc. (Hon) in Hematology from the University of Otago in New Zealand. Dr. Heslop is a co-founder of ViraCyte, LLC.
Dr. Rooney is a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology and Microbiology, and Immunology and Director of Translational Research Laboratories at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Rooney is renowned virologist and immunologist who, in collaboration with Drs. Heslop and Brenner, was the first to demonstrate that antigen-specific T cells generated in the laboratory could prevent and cure viral-associated malignancies in humans following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. She has been key in extending this successful strategy to develop and clinically test a range of post-transplant viral infections and diseases. Dr. Rooney serves on the Editorial Boards for several scientific journals, including Molecular Therapy, Cytotherapy, Molecular and Cellular Therapies. Dr. Rooney holds a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Cambridge and a B.Sc. in Genetics from the University of East Anglia in England. Dr. Rooney is a co-founder of ViraCyte, LLC.
A leading cancer immunotherapy translational scientist, Dr. Sharma is a Co-Founder of Jounce Therapeutics and currently serves as scientific director and professor in the departments of genitourinary medical oncology and immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Sharma is a medical oncologist and immunologist, and is currently the principal investigator of several immunotherapy clinical trials, which allow her to further investigate immune responses and pathways that are critical for eliciting anti-tumor responses and clinical benefit in cancer patients. Dr. Sharma has received numerous awards in her field. Most recently, she received the 2018 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology by the Cancer Research Institute. Other awards include a Department of Defense (DOD) Idea Development Award (2010), a Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Individual Investigator Award (2011), a National Institute of Health (NIH/NCI) R01 Award (2012), and AACR-CRI-SU2C Immunotherapy dream team grant (2013). Dr. Sharma holds a Ph.D. in immunology and an M.D. from Pennsylvania State University. She also holds a B.A. in biology and an M.A. in biotechnology from Boston University.