Todd Aguilera, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician-scientist trained as a radiation oncologist with expertise in molecular engineering, molecular imaging, the tumor microenvironment, and tumor immunology.
Dr. Aguilera completed the Medical Scientist Training Program in 2011 at the University of California San Diego. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2009 in Dr. Roger Y. Tsien's laboratory, who received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His Ph.D. work focused on engineering and validating activatable peptide-based probes to target the tumor microenvironment. Molecules that stemmed from his work are currently being tested in clinical trials for fluorescence-guided surgery of breast cancer.
After an internal medicine internship in San Diego, he joined the Radiation Oncology Residency program at Stanford University. He worked with Dr. Amato Giaccia as a resident and postdoctoral fellow studying factors in the tumor microenvironment that promote immunologic tolerance and developing therapeutic approaches to improve immunotherapy responses in solid tumors. More specifically, he is interested is intrinsic factors that prevent/suppress the anti-tumor immune response after radiation and how these factors can be reversed.
Dr. Aguilera was recruited to the Department of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern to establish his research group who will continue to investigate the immune microenvironment and engineer approaches to target cells and molecules that lead to immune privilege. He treats radiation oncology patients with gastrointestinal cancers, is developing laboratory projects in pancreatic cancer, and aims to establish collaborative projects with clinicians and researchers.
Outside of lab, Dr. Aguilera enjoys spending time snowboarding, surfing (when he can escape back to California for a few days), brewing beer, and spending time with his family. His wife is also on faculty at UTSW in the Division of Neonatology. He has a young son and daughter whom he looks forward to taking to the mountains and ocean.