The Sentinel


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Get to Know Sentinel Author: Nils Rudqvist, PhD

Name: Nils Rudqvist

Title: PhD

Employer: Weill Cornell Medicine

When and why did you become a SITC member?

I became a SITC member in 2016 when I joined the laboratory of Sandra Demaria at Weill Cornell Medicine. My background is in radiation physics/biology, so immunology was quite new to me. One main reason for me to join SITC was to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to become a successful investigator in the field of immuno-oncology.

Can you briefly explain the work you are doing in the field?

Sandra’s lab is focused on understanding how radiation therapy can be used together with immune modulation to reject both irradiated and abscopal tumors. As a wheel in that machinery, I focus on how radiation impacts the tumor antigenicity. For this purpose, I investigate both how the TCR repertoire is shaped by both mono- and combination therapies, and the role of neoantigens in the treatment response.

Who or what inspired you to choose this specific career path?

Short answer: patients. I have been wanting to work with clinically relevant research for some time, and it is very rewarding to imagine that my research may one day benefit patients that today are without treatment options.

What are some of the biggest challenges you are facing in the field?

Using data from clinical trials performed at Weill Cornell, some of my work have been focused on developing a biomarker of response to radiation therapy and checkpoint blockade. A lot of my research is performed in silico, and there is always a need for more data, more samples. Having paired tumor and blood samples before and after treatment, from perhaps from more than one tumor site, would be incredible helpful in the search for biomarkers.

What topic(s) do you plan to write about for The Sentinel, SITC’s new blog?

My focus will perhaps be more personal than others. As mentioned above, I joined the field more recently, and I will write about my experiences surrounding this.

What do you hope readers will gain from this new blog?

I hope to give my reader both a serious and fun reading experience. Serious in terms of how we can better welcome outsiders into the field and how to engage in multi-disciplinary collaboration. Fun in terms of misunderstandings that happen along the way. I will also share projections and results related to my career trajectory.

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