Melissa Reeves, Ph.D
Sandler Fellow, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
Melissa did her graduate research in Allan Balmain's lab in the Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF, where she studied tumor evolution and heterogeneity. Combining next generation sequencing with multi-color fluorescent lineage tracing, she identified patterns of clonal evolution and timing of clonal sweeps that occur during tumor progression and found that metastases typically spread from the primary tumor in parallel to distant sites, rather than via a regional lymph node. As a UCSF Sandler Fellow, Melissa and her lab will study how tumor heterogeneity impacts the anti-tumor immune response, making use of multi-color lineage tracing tools and next-gen sequencing. Immunotherapy strategies have great potential to treat and even cure cancer patients, but the majority of human tumors exhibit a high level of spatial and genetic heterogeneity, and it is critical for us to understand how that heterogeneity will impact the response of T cells to the tumor.