Heather Gustafson, PhD

Heather  Gustafson,  PhD

Academic Title: Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine

Research Title: Principal Investigator

Research Center: Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research

"The goal of the Gustafson/EDIT lab is to train a child's own immune system to eliminate cancer. We believe the key to doing this is through first understanding where the crucial dysregulation or untrained points are in that child's innate immune system. Then we use that information to "re-train" the innate immune system to clear cancer. Our team is curated from positive attitudes, a love of science, fundamental creativity, hard work, and hope for the future. "

  • Biography

    Dr. Heather H Gustafson is an Assistant Professor who directs the Gustafson/EDIT Lab in the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s. Dr. Gustafson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on polymer engineering and a minor in chemistry from Case Western Reserve University, USA. She went onto earn her PhD in Bioengineering with a focus on drug delivery, pharmaceutics, nanomaterial development and innate immune interactions jointly from the University of Utah, USA and the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research, Germany. Following completion of her PhD she completed a postdoctoral fellowship jointly between the University of Washington, USA and the Walter and Eliza Hall Medical Institute, Australia. Her postdoctoral work focused on how to manipulate the innate immune system specifically through the engagement of immunological cell death mechanisms to treat cancer. She began her tenure at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research in 2019, directing the Exploring Dysregulation of Immunity in Tumors (EDIT Lab). The Gustafson/EDIT Lab team focuses on understanding how to train a child’s innate immune system to fight and treat cancer.