2018-2019 Grant Awardees
David T. Ting, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Project: Role of Satellite Repeat RNAs on Pancreatic Cancer Immune Response
David T. Ting, a physician scientist, cancer biologist, and bioengineer, is currently Associate Clinical Director for Innovation and a gastrointestinal oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center. He is currently an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ting’s lab works on understanding RNA expression patterns in cancer to gain biological insight into cancer progression, identify biomarkers for early detection, and to develop new therapeutic avenues against cancer. His group uses an innovative microfluidic device to capture rare circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of cancer patients and combines this with next generation RNA-sequencing as a “liquid biopsy” for blood based early detection biomarkers and to understand the molecular underpinnings of cancer metastasis. In addition, his group has discovered a new class of non-coding RNAs that appear important for the cancer immune response that they are now developing as a novel cancer therapeutic.
Dr. Ting received his B.S. in chemical engineering and biology from MIT in 1999, and he completed his medical degree at Harvard Medical School from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program withmagna cum laudehonors in 2004. During his undergraduate and medical school studies, he trained with Dr. Robert Langer at MIT on drug delivery platforms and did a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship at the Whitehead Institute at MIT working on stem cell biology with Dr. George Daley, current Dean of Harvard Medical School. He completed internal medicine residency at the MGH and medical oncology fellowship in the combined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and MGH Cancer Center program. He moved on to post-doctoral training with Daniel Haber’s group at the MGH Cancer Center working on CTCs and novel RNA biomarkers in cancer. In addition to his passion for being at the interface of science, technology, and medicine, David is also an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan. His wife is a pediatric oncologist and they have four wonderful children.
Gregory Beatty, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Project: T Cell Fitness as a Target for Overcoming Treatment Resistance in Pancreatic Cancer
Gregory Beatty, MD, PhD is Assistant Professor and Director of Translational Research of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Beatty trained at Bucknell University (BS, Chemical Engineering, 1995) and the University of Pennsylvania (Immunology, PhD, 2000; MD, 2004; Residency 2004-2006; Medical Oncology Fellow, 2006-2010). In 2012, he joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. He directs a discovery laboratory that incorporates both basic science research and clinical investigation. The mission of Dr. Beatty’s research is to define mechanisms of resistance and response to cancer immunotherapy for informing effective strategies to condition tumors and patients for enhanced therapeutic responsiveness. His basic science has revealed that the inflammatory reaction to cancer that is commonly supportive of cancer growth can be redirected with anti-cancer properties using immune agonists. His research has also shown that cancer inflammation is a barrier to standard of cancer cytotoxic therapies and is therefore, a therapeutic target for improving clinical outcomes. In the clinic, Dr. Beatty has led first-in-human clinical trials investigating CAR T cells for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. He has also led studies investigating strategies to target cancer inflammation, including CD40 agonists and inhibitors of IDO and JAK.