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2020-2021 Grant Awardees

Laura D. Wood, MD PhD

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Project: Characterization of the Molecular Events Driving Vascular Invasion in Pancreatic Cancer














Laura D. Wood, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology in the Department of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Wood received her BS in Biology from the College of William & Mary, graduating Summa Cum Laude with membership in Phi Beta Kappa. She then went on to earn both her MD and PhD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. She completed her PhD research in the laboratory of Dr. Bert Vogelstein, where she led the first whole exome sequencing studies in human cancers. Dr. Wood then went on to complete residency in Anatomic Pathology (serving as Chief Resident in her final year) and fellowship in Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Now, she leads her own translational research laboratory focused on molecular characterization of pancreatic neoplasms. Her laboratory leverages next generation sequencing to characterize genetic heterogeneity and clonal evolution in precancerous pancreatic lesions. In addition, her group employs three-dimensional organoid culture models to interrogate the molecular drivers of pancreatic cancer invasion, and they are developing tools to transform human pancreatic pathology from two to three dimensions. In addition to her research program, Dr. Wood signs out clinical specimens on the Gastrointestinal Pathology service.


Florencia McAllister, MD

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Project: Assessing spatial configuration and function of bacteria in pancreatic cancer and metastasis














Florencia McAllister, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention and Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr McAllister received her medical degree from University of Rosario in Argentina. She then moved to the US and pursued a postdoctoral fellowship with Jay Kolls in Basic Immunology at LSU and the University of Pittsburgh. She then joined the Internal Medicine Program at the University of Pittsburgh followed by Medical Oncology and Clinical Pharmacology Fellowships at Johns Hopkins University. Following her subspecialty clinical training she joined the lab of Steven Leach to study the role of inflammatory cells from the tumor microenvironment in murine transgenic models of pancreatic cancer with co-mentorship of Drew Pardoll. She started her own lab at MD Anderson in 2014 where she continued studying the tumor microenvironment and focused on the role of microbes shaping immune responses in cancer development, progression and therapies.



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