Elizabeth Juarez Diaz

Program: Immunology

Current advisor: Tanner M. Johanns, MD, PhD

Undergraduate university: St. Catherine University

Research summary
This past summer, I worked in the lab of Carl DeSelm. The DeSelm lab is at the frontiers of immunotherapy for solid tumors through chimeric antigen receptor immune cells. Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CART) T cell bypasses MHC activation by expressing an engineered surface receptor. CART is effective in Leukemia, but there are still many challenges when it comes to solid tumors, such as glioblastoma.

Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the deadliest cancers with a prognosis that has not shifted past 14-16 months. The current gold standard of care is resection, temozolomide chemotherapy, and radiation. One of the challenges of immunotherapies for GBM is the heterogeneity, making targeted therapy difficult. My project’s first aim is to focus on identifying and designing a CART cell to target resistant and recurrent glioblastomas. My second aim is to address the potential to establish memory with these innovative cellular therapies.

Graduate publications