The Ben Towne Center's leadership team, faculty and staff includes some of the world's top pediatric cancer researchers and scientists.

Leadership

Michael Jensen, MD

JensenDr. Michael Jensen is director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute and professor of hematology-oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. 

Read about the Jensen Lab.

Rimas Orentas, PhD

Rimas Orentas 105x150Dr. Rimas Orentas is the associate director of the Ben Towne Center. He has extensive experience in CAR T-based immunotherapy approaches to cancer therapy.  

Faculty

Courtney Crane, PhD

CraneDr. Courtney Crane is a principal investigator at the Ben Towne Center and an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Read about the Crane Lab.

Rebecca A. Gardner, MD

GardnerDr. Rebecca Gardner is a principal investigator at the Ben Towne Center, an attending physician at Seattle Children's Hospital and an acting assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington.

Heather H. Gustafson, PhD

Heather GustafsonDr. Heather Gustafson is an assistant professor at the Ben Towne Center and directs the Engineering and Designing Immunotherapy Laboratory (EDIT Labs). Her lab focuses on how to train a child’s innate immune system to fight cancer. 

Vandana Kalia, PhD

Vandana Kalia BTCCCRDr. Vandana Kalia is a principal investigator at the Ben Towne Center and an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She is studying how genes regulate T cells, and is pursuing ways to commandeer that process and help T cells to destroy tumors.

Surojit Sarkar, PhD

SarkarDr.Surojit Sarkar is a principal investigator at the Ben Towne Center and an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is pursuing ways to help the immune system remember cancer and attack it if it relapses – whether that’s months or decades after a child goes into remission.

Read about the Sarkar Lab.