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Meet the Team

Leadership

Rimas OrentasRimas Orentas, PhD

Dr. Rimas Orentas is the director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. He has extensive experience in CAR T-based immunotherapy approaches to cancer therapy.  

Read about the Orentas Lab.

Beth LawlorElizabeth Lawlor, MD, PhD

Dr. Elizabeth Lawlor is the associate director, cancer biology, and co-director, cancer basic and translational science at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. Her research focuses on Ewing sarcoma, an aggressive bone and soft tissue tumor that peaks in adolescence and for which new cures are needed.

Read about the Lawlor Lab.

Faculty

Heather GustafsonHeather H. Gustafson, PhD

Dr. Heather Gustafson is a principal investigator at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research 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 KaliaVandana Kalia, PhD

Dr. Vandana Kalia is a principal investigator at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. She is studying how genes regulate T cells and is pursuing ways to commandeer that process and help T cells to destroy tumors.

Read about the Kalia Lab.

Shannon OdaShannon Oda, PhD

Dr. Shannon Oda is a principal investigator at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. Her lab develops engineering strategies that enable T cells to overcome obstacles in the tumor microenvironment and mount a more powerful, durable and sustained attack on cancer cells.

Read about the Oda Lab.

Surojit SarkarSurojit Sarkar, PhD

Dr. Surojit Sarkar is a principal investigator at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. 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.

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