Scientific Advisory Board

Darrell Irvine, PhD
Darrell Irvine, PhD, is a co-founder of Torque and Chairman of Torque’s Scientific Advisory Board. He is a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He also serves on the steering committee of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. Dr. Irvine’s research is focused on the application of engineering tools to problems in cellular immunology and the development of new materials for vaccine and drug delivery. Current efforts are focused on problems related to vaccine development for HIV and immunotherapy of cancer. This terdisciplinary work has been recognized in numerous awards, including a Beckman Young Investigator award, an NSF CAREER award, selection for Technology Review’s “TR35,” and election as a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Dr. Irvine is the author of more than 70 publications, reviews, and book chapters and an inventor on numerous patents. He holds a BS in Engineering Physics from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD in Polymer Science from MIT.

Malcolm Brenner, MD, PhD
Malcolm Brenner, MD, PhD, is Founding Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Texas Children’s Hospital and The Methodist Hospital. He is a Distinguished Service professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and of Medicine at BCM. Dr. Brenner’s clinical research interests span many aspects of stem cell transplantation, using genetic manipulation of cultured cells to obtain therapeutic effects. Efforts in Dr. Brenner’s laboratory to analyze the cell of origin when relapse occurs in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia led his team to be the first to label autologous bone marrow cells genetically after purging, prior to being reintroduced to the patient. His group recently pioneered the first clinical use of a new safety switch for cellular therapy. He has won many awards for his work, including the ASGCT Outstanding Achievement Award and the American Society of Hematology Mentor Award. Dr. Brenner received his medical degree and subsequent PhD from Cambridge University, England.

Lisa Butterfield, PhD
Lisa Butterfield, PhD, is Vice President of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Research Center and an Adjunct Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco. She is focused on research and development of cancer vaccines and cellular therapies—specifically, immunotherapy for hepatocellular cancer and melanoma involving peptides, dendritic cells, and adenoviruses as well as effector responses to tumor antigens—and the development of the PICI laboratory facilities. Previously, from 2003 to 2018, Dr. Butterfield was Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Immunology, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Hillman Cancer Center Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory. She is the current Immediate-Past President of the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer and a member of the SITC Executive Committee, and she led the Immunology Reference Lab for the ECOG-ACRIN NCI cooperative group from 2006 to 2018. Dr. Butterfield has published more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews, and book chapters, and she has mentored more than 20 students and postdoctoral students. Dr. Butterfield earned a PhD in Biology from UCLA, followed by postdoctoral fellowships in Cellular Immunology and Cancer Gene Therapy, also at UCLA.

F. Stephen Hodi, MD
F. Stephen Hodi, MD, is Director of the Melanoma Center and the Center for Immuno-Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, the Sharon Crowley Martin Chair in Melanoma at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is an internationally recognized leader in developing immune therapy and melanoma therapeutics, particularly known for the clinical development of immune checkpoint inhibitors, and his clinical investigation efforts have pioneered the use of immune checkpoint blockade and combination therapy approaches to treat cancer. Dr. Hodi led the first clinical trial of what would become Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy, the first checkpoint inhibitor approved for cancer, and he has continued as a key investigator in the clinical development of the second family of checkpoint inhibitors that block PD-1 and PD-L1. Dr. Hodi is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He is an author on more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and serves on the editorial board of several immunology and oncology journals. He received an MD from Cornell University Medical College, completed postdoctoral training in Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and completed a Medical Oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Mario Sznol, MD
Mario Sznol, MD, is Professor of Internal Medicine, Leader of the Melanoma Disease-Aligned Research Team, and co-Leader of the Cancer Immunology Program of the Yale Cancer Center. During his professional career, Dr. Sznol has focused on clinical development of cytokines, vaccines, antibodies, and bacterial products for the treatment of cancer. Prior to his position with Yale Cancer Center, he served as Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Vion Pharmaceuticals. Before joining Vion, Dr. Sznol was Head of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)’s Biologics Evaluation Section in the Investigational Drug Branch, Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program. Dr. Sznol is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisors for Anaeropharma Science and of the Scientific Advisory Board for Symphogen. He received a BA from Rice University and an MD from the Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Sznol completed his fellowship in Medical Oncology, Department of Neoplastic Diseases, at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and his residency in Internal Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Cassian Yee, MD
Cassian Yee, MD, is Clinical Oncologist and Professor in the Departments of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Immunology, Director of Solid Tumor Cell Therapy, and Co-Director of the Adoptive Cellular Therapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Yee’s research over the past 20 years has focused on developing immune-based therapies for the treatment of patients with cancer. His specialty, in the area of adoptive cellular therapy, involves the isolation of rare tumor antigen-specific T cells from the peripheral blood, manipulation of immune modulating factors to enhance their effector function and in vivo persistence, and expansion to numbers sufficient for adoptive transfer. He is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigators, recipient of Clinical Translational Scientist Award from Burroughs Wellcome Fund, CPRIT Clinical Investigator award, and co-Leader of the Stand Up to Cancer—American Association for Cancer Research / Cancer Research Institute Immunotherapy Dream Team. Dr. Yee completed his medical degree in Canada followed by an internal medicine residency at Stanford before going on to an oncology fellowship at the University of Washington. He ascended to the position of Professor at the University of Washington and Full Member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

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