Director

Jedd
Wolchok
Immunology, Clinical trials
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

My research focuses on developing and implementing new ways to use the immune system to treat cancer. I am promoting the advent of combination immunotherapeutic treatment for patients with advanced melanoma.

I was instrumental in the clinical development leading to the approval of ipilimumab for advanced melanoma.

I am a medical oncologist who serves as the Director of the Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and the Associate Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK with expertise in metastatic melanoma.

I began my science career in 1984 as an undergraduate at Princeton University when I worked as part of MSK's Summer Research Program with Dr. Alan Houghton. After receiving my MD and PhD from New York University, I returned to MSK to enter its fellowship program in 1996. In 2000 I was appointed to the MSK faculty.

In addition to my Ludwig appointments, I am an Associate Attending Physician; Head of the Swim Across America Laboratory; and Director of Immunotherapy Clinical Trials, all at MSK. I am also the Director of the joint Ludwig/CRI CVC trials network, dedicated to developing safe and effective therapeutic vaccines and other immunotherapies for cancer. The network has conducted nearly 50 early phase clinical trials of different therapeutic cancer vaccines involving more than 950 patients with melanoma, lung, ovarian, prostate, breast and other cancers.

Over the past 10 years I have been an active mentor of medical and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and I am the Director of the Summer Medical Student Program and co-Director of the Medical Oncology-Hematology Fellowship Program at MSK.


Achievements

Damon Runyon-Lilly Clinical Investigator Award

Julia Zelmanovich Young Alumni Award by New York University School of Medicine

Humanitarian Awards granted by the Melanoma Research Foundation and the Live, Love, Laugh Foundation and the Doctor of the Year by the Melanoma International Foundation

Member, AACR, ASCO, SU2C Melanoma Dream Team

I have recently been named the incumbent of the Lloyd J. Old Chair for Clinical Investigation (formerly known as the Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Chair for Clinical Investigation.

Read More

News: 

Watch a video of Dr. Jedd D. Wolchok speaking about the PD1 Pathway and the activity of novel agent Nivolumab as a potential predicative target.
(Asco Daily News)


VIDEO: A CONVERSATION WITH SIR DAVID LANE


Ludwig’s Scientific Director Sir David Lane has met and spoken with many gifted researchers at Ludwig laboratories around the world. On a recent trip to New York, he chatted with a group of young scientists at the Ludwig MSK Center and Collaborative Laboratory about everything from our organization’s contributions to immunotherapy to beginning a career in the biomedical sciences. Here’s the first installment of what we expect will be an ongoing video dialogue.

Host: 

The Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory is housed within Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the world's oldest and largest private cancer center.

N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory

Director

Jedd
Wolchok
Immunology, Clinical trials
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

My research focuses on developing and implementing new ways to use the immune system to treat cancer. I am promoting the advent of combination immunotherapeutic treatment for patients with advanced melanoma.

I was instrumental in the clinical development leading to the approval of ipilimumab for advanced melanoma.

I am a medical oncologist who serves as the Director of the Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and the Associate Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK with expertise in metastatic melanoma.

I began my science career in 1984 as an undergraduate at Princeton University when I worked as part of MSK's Summer Research Program with Dr. Alan Houghton. After receiving my MD and PhD from New York University, I returned to MSK to enter its fellowship program in 1996. In 2000 I was appointed to the MSK faculty.

In addition to my Ludwig appointments, I am an Associate Attending Physician; Head of the Swim Across America Laboratory; and Director of Immunotherapy Clinical Trials, all at MSK. I am also the Director of the joint Ludwig/CRI CVC trials network, dedicated to developing safe and effective therapeutic vaccines and other immunotherapies for cancer. The network has conducted nearly 50 early phase clinical trials of different therapeutic cancer vaccines involving more than 950 patients with melanoma, lung, ovarian, prostate, breast and other cancers.

Over the past 10 years I have been an active mentor of medical and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and I am the Director of the Summer Medical Student Program and co-Director of the Medical Oncology-Hematology Fellowship Program at MSK.


Achievements

Damon Runyon-Lilly Clinical Investigator Award

Julia Zelmanovich Young Alumni Award by New York University School of Medicine

Humanitarian Awards granted by the Melanoma Research Foundation and the Live, Love, Laugh Foundation and the Doctor of the Year by the Melanoma International Foundation

Member, AACR, ASCO, SU2C Melanoma Dream Team

I have recently been named the incumbent of the Lloyd J. Old Chair for Clinical Investigation (formerly known as the Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Chair for Clinical Investigation.

Read More

News: 

Watch a video of Dr. Jedd D. Wolchok speaking about the PD1 Pathway and the activity of novel agent Nivolumab as a potential predicative target.
(Asco Daily News)


VIDEO: A CONVERSATION WITH SIR DAVID LANE


Ludwig’s Scientific Director Sir David Lane has met and spoken with many gifted researchers at Ludwig laboratories around the world. On a recent trip to New York, he chatted with a group of young scientists at the Ludwig MSK Center and Collaborative Laboratory about everything from our organization’s contributions to immunotherapy to beginning a career in the biomedical sciences. Here’s the first installment of what we expect will be an ongoing video dialogue.

Host: 

The Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory is housed within Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the world's oldest and largest private cancer center.

Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory
MSK, 417 E. 68th Street, Z1525
New York, , us, 10065
T 646 888 2315

We are working to identify and investigate novel approaches to the treatment of cancer with an emphasis on immunomodulators alone and in combination with other treatment methods.

Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory
MSK, 417 E. 68th Street, Z1525
New York, , us, 10065
T 646 888 2315

Directors

Jedd Wolchok

I was instrumental in the clinical development leading to the approval of ipilimumab for advanced melanoma.

I am a medical oncologist who serves as the Director of the Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and the Associate Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK with expertise in metastatic melanoma.

I began my science career in 1984 as an undergraduate at Princeton University when I worked as part of MSK's Summer Research Program with Dr. Alan Houghton. After receiving my MD and PhD from New York University, I returned to MSK to enter its fellowship program in 1996. In 2000 I was appointed to the MSK faculty.

In addition to my Ludwig appointments, I am an Associate Attending Physician; Head of the Swim Across America Laboratory; and Director of Immunotherapy Clinical Trials, all at MSK. I am also the Director of the joint Ludwig/CRI CVC trials network, dedicated to developing safe and effective therapeutic vaccines and other immunotherapies for cancer. The network has conducted nearly 50 early phase clinical trials of different therapeutic cancer vaccines involving more than 950 patients with melanoma, lung, ovarian, prostate, breast and other cancers.

Over the past 10 years I have been an active mentor of medical and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and I am the Director of the Summer Medical Student Program and co-Director of the Medical Oncology-Hematology Fellowship Program at MSK.

TEAM

Taha
Merghoub
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Associate Attending Lab Member
Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory

I received my BA degree from the University of Algiers, Algeria, and MS and PhD degrees with highest distinction from the University of Paris, France. My thesis findings provided insight to the correlation of genotypes and phenotypes in sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. I pursued my post-doctoral research with Dr. Pandolfi at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He characterized the role of the Zbtb7 (Pokemon/LRF1) gene during development. I am an Associate Attending Biologist in the Melanoma Sarcoma Service and am an integral part of the Ludwig Collaborative and Swim Across America Laboratory. I co-direct the scientific direction and the projects being investigated. I mentor postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and technicians.

My overall research projects investigate the pathogenesis and treatment of melanoma as a model system, and in part are directed at developing tools to study melanoma and other cancer types of interest. My main focuses are: 1) investigating the therapeutic efficacy of new immunotherapy strategies in combination with other therapeutic modalities such as radiation therapy and novel targeted pathway inhibitors; 2) improving adoptive T cell strategies by investigating the effect of tumor specific T cell frequencies on therapeutic efficacy and use of the immune modulatory antibodies with the development of mathematical models that can predict these responses; 3) identifying viral vectors capable of inducing strong antigen-specific tumor immunity by exploring oncolytic viruses or recombinant alphavirus replicon particles (VRPs) as a means to deliver and immunize against tumor differentiation antigens; and 4) identification of genetic lesions for which targeted drug therapy can be evaluated in human tumor specimens and mouse models of spontaneous melanoma.

We are seeking to build upon the observations stemming from each project with the overall goal of developing the most potent immunotherapeutic regimen possible using a combinatorial strategy and applying it to melanoma and other cancer types.

David
Schaer
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Senior Research Scientist

My clinical research is focused on the mechanisms of GITR immunotherapy and its role in Treg mediated immune suppression. I am studying the effects of agonist GITR antibodies in human patients. Our group has recently started a collaboration with the Ludwig Institute/4-Antibody partnership. I am leading this effort in our group.

Alexander M.
Lesokhin
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Assistant Attending Physician

I have a specific interest in developing innovative ways to use the immune system to treat cancer. My laboratory research is focused on the characterization of myeloid derived suppressor cells and the implications of these cells for the development of adaptive immune responses against melanoma and other cancers.

Roberta
Zappasodi
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Fellow

I am investigating how co-stimulation, with agonist anti-GITR, and checkpoint blockade, with antagonist anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibodies affect suppressive T cells in tumor microenvironment. In particular, I am involved in the study of the mechanisms responsible for the success or failure of these antibodies in preclinical mouse models. I am also investigating the induction of immune responses to self-antigens using a vaccine based on Alphavirus-like replicon particles, alone or in combination with immune modulation.

Rikke B.
Holmgaard
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Fellow

My research focusrd on understanding immunosuppressive mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment. In particular, I have been studying indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase (IDO) and its inhibitory role on anti-tumor therapies targeting immune checkpoints, as well as the development of combinatorial therapeutic strategies using IDO inhibitors.

Nicole
Malandro
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

PhD student

I am part of the immunology program at Weill Cornell Graduate School. Because of natural safeguards to protect against autoimmunity, tumor-self antigen specific T cells are eliminated from our immune repertoire and if present may be relatively scarce. I am interested in how the precursor frequency of these tumor antigen specific CD4+ T cells shapes the effectiveness of an anti-tumor immune response. To investigate this I have developed a model system in which precursor number can be manipulated in mice bearing implantable melanoma tumors through the adoptive transfer of tumor specific T cells of known specificity.

Michael
Postow
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Assistant Attending Physician

I am part of the Melanoma-Sarcoma Oncology Service. I have an interest in developing clinical trials involving immunotherapeutic strategies for patients with melanoma. My specific areas of interest include studying the immunologic effects of radiotherapy and characterizing pharmacodynamic biomarkers associated with ipilimumab outcomes. I plan to continue bridging basic laboratory advances with novel clinical observations to improve the care of our patients.

Ceyhan
Elipenhali
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Technician

I specialize in tissue banking and tissue collection. I am an integral part of cell bank and tissue repository core at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. We collect tissue, blood samples and cell lines along with personal data. The core is a resource of information and biosamples for researchers. My knowledge of biology and laboratory techniques enables me to develop and refine procedures and organizational practices. We ensure the ethical collection, storage, annotation and distribution of tissue and blood samples.

Xia
Yang
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Senior Research Technician

I am a specialist in mouse genetics. I am developing several mouse strains for immunologic studies. I perform mouse colony maintenance and genotyping. I also administer experimental drugs via IP/IV/PO to test their therapeutic efficacy in vivo.

Cailian
Liu
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Senior Research Assistant

I specialize in molecular biology techniques across multiple projects. I am also responsible for gene expression studies and the characterization of primary cell lines from the cell line/tissue repository developed in the lab.

Shakuntala
Tiwari
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Senior Research Assistant

I have 20 years of experience in a wide range of laboratory-based studies and animal experiments. I am involved in establishing and characterizing primary tumor cell lines from patients at different stages of disease and treatment.

Hong
Zhong
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Senior Research Technician

I am a specialist in mouse genetics and mouse breeding. I am developing several genetically modified mouse strains being used to test immunotherapies in combination with other treatment methods.

Lauren
Boucher
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Technician

I specialize in biotechnology and have prior industry experience in immune-based diagnostics. I am developing immune-based assays to better characterize the effect of novel targeted inhibitors (BRAF, MEK) on immune cells.

Daniel Hirschhorn
Cymerman
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Senior Research Scientist

I am interested in developing strategies that mobilize the adaptive immune responses to tumors by targeting co-stimulatory molecules of the TNFR family. My research focuses on the mechanisms by which OX40 engagement, alone or in combination with other therapeutic modalities, mediates potent anti-tumor immunity. I also have developed a particular interest in defining key events in the cytolytic reprogramming of CD4 T cells by TNFR members.

Sadna
Budhu
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Fellow

I developed a three-dimensional collagen-fibrin gel system to examine tumor-specific T cell killing. Coupled with an equation (bt=b0e-kpt+gt) that accurately models T cell killing of melanoma cells, collagen-fibrin gels represent a quantitative model for assessing the cytolytic activity of antigen-specific T cells. My research focuses on quantitatively assessing the role of radiation, chemotherapy, immune modulation and cancer-specific vaccines on the effector T cell responses to tumor antigens using breast cancer and melanoma as model systems.

Margaret
Callahan
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Assistant Attending Physician

I have a shared appointment in the Melanoma-Sarcoma Service and the Immunotherapeutics Clinical Core. My laboratory-based interests are focused on two areas: 1) investigating novel combinations of immunotherapies with targeted inhibitors; and 2) exploring immune-based biomarkers in clinical studies of novel immunotherapies.

Dmitriy
Zamarin
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Medical Oncology Fellow

Genetically engineered oncolytic viruses are an emerging class of cancer therapeutics that have shown significant clinical promise in the recent years. My research focuses on exploration of oncolytic viruses for cancer immunotherapy. I am using engineered Newcastle Disease Virus to study the mechanisms of anti-tumor immunity induced by viruses and to develop novel anti-cancer agents. My main area of interest is exploring different immunotherapeutic strategies that could circumvent the limitations of oncolytic viruses and make oncolytic virus-based therapy applicable to all cancer types.

Yuka
Maeda
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Fellow

Several immunotherapies are now approved or explored in clinical trials. My research focus on combining these modalities in pre-clinical models to set the next stage of clinical research. I am also exploring the role of vaccine to cancer testis antigens (NY-ESO-1) in combination with immune modulation. These pre-clinical studies will help instruct and inform the design of future clinical trials.

Judith
Murphy
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

PhD student

I am part of the immunology program at Weill Cornell Graduate School. My project focuses on the role of co-stimulatory molecules of the TNFR family in anaphylaxis. My main interest is in determining the mechanisms underlying GITR ligation in inducing anaphylaxis. I also am developing means to prevent anaphylaxis based on the mechanistic studies. The results of this project are instrumental in designing future clinical trials targeting co-stimulatory molecules such as GITR agonist antibodies.

Czrina
Cortez
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Technician

My expertise is in applying immune monitoring techniques in pre-clinical mouse models. I have been performing immune suppression assays in vitro to characterize and determine the role of myeloid suppressor T cells in vitro. I also perform mouse breeding and mouse colony maintenance and I am developing multiple myeloma mouse models to test immunotherapies in preclinical settings.

Yanyun
Li
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Senior Research Technician

I am a trained pathologist specializing in histology and immunohistochemistry techniques. I processes tissue samples (mouse and human) and perform histology and immunohistochemistry staining. I read and interpret slides that have been generated from these studies, as well as slides from other lab members. I teach immunohistochemistry and histological techniques to medical fellows, post doctorals, graduate students, summer students and technicians, and ensure that techniques are performed accurately and reliably.

Feng
Zhao
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Senior Research Technician

My expertise is in molecular biology and biochemistry. I am involved in the cloning and characterization of tumor specific antigen T cell receptors. I am also developing new T cell receptor transgenic mice. In addition, I am generating several cell lines and reagents for use in the screening of newly generated anti-tumor antibodies.

Tamar
Plitt
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Technician

My expertise is T cell killing assays and developing means to study T cell effector functions in vitro. I am involved in a project studying the effect of targeted therapies on the function of T cells in vitro. I am also participating in studies designed to determine the mechanisms and best combination regimens for targeted therapies with immune modulation in vivo in spontaneous mouse models of melanoma.

Beatrice
Yin
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Lab Manager

I am responsible for all lab-related operations. I ensure that all lab databases are organized and up to date. I am responsible for lab equipment, inventory, ordering supplies, purchase orders and invoices, and maintenance contracts. I oversee the compliance with environmental health and safety and radiation safety regulations. I also ensure that lab assistants and staff know their assigned duties.

Billel
Gasmi
N.Y. Collaborative Laboratory
Bio

Research Technician

I am part of a team that is developing a tissue and cell bank repository core for the melanoma disease management group at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. We collect tissue, blood samples and cell lines along with personal data. The core is a resource of information and biosamples for researchers. I use my medical background and knowledge to ensure samples are annotated properly. We ensure the ethical collection, storage, annotation and distribution of tissue and blood samples.

RESEARCH AREAS

Deconstructing the mechanisms underlying immune suppression and developing novel therapies to overcome them (click to expand)

The Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory is developing novel ways to use the immune system to treat cancer. Some cancer mutations can theoretically stimulate strong immune responses, but multiple barriers to tumor immunity exist. Our work focuses on deconstructing the mechanisms underlying immune suppression and developing novel therapies to overcome them. We use a multi-pronged approach to enhance the immune response to cancer by:

1. Exploring immune modulation (checkpoint blockade and co-stimulation).

2. Using chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapies to elicit tumor antigen release and modulate the immune system.

3. Improving vaccine strategies to deliver anti-tumor immunity (alphaviral particles) and as oncolytic agent.

4. Combining immune modulation with small molecule inhibitors, vaccines, chemotherapy and radiation.

We also focus on identifying the genetic lesions in melanoma for which targeted drug therapy can be evaluated in both human tumor specimens and mouse models of spontaneous melanoma. We are also closely aligned with the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy trial development and monitoring.

Work from our laboratory has generated several clinical trials that have progressed to pivotal phase III trials, as well as to the first licensure of a therapeutic cancer vaccine in companion animals. Dr. Wolchok led a phase III study of ipilimumab, a checkpoint blocking antibody, which resulted to its FDA approval for patients with melanoma. Based on preclinical data we initiated the first-in-human trial with a co-stimulatory molecule (anti-GITR antibody). Our group continues to evaluate promising immunotherapeutic approaches and to translate these preclinical strategies into clinical trials.

PUBLICATIONS

Hirschhorn-Cymerman D, Budhu S, Kitano S, Liu C, Zhao F, Zhong H, Lesokhin AM, Avogadri-Connors F, Yuan J, Li Y, Houghton AN, Merghoub T and Wolchok JD. Induction of tumoricidal function in CD4+ T cells is associated with concomitant memory and terminally differentiated phenotype. J Exp Med 209(11): 2113-2126, 2012

Lesokhin, A. M., T. M. Hohl, S. Kitano, C. Cortez, D. Hirschhorn-Cymerman, F. Avogadri, G. A. Rizzuto, J. J. Lazarus, E. G. Pamer, A. N. Houghton, T. Merghoub and J. D. Wolchok. Monocytic CCR2(+) myeloid-derived suppressor cells promote immune escape by limiting activated CD8 T-cell infiltration into the tumor microenvironment. Cancer Res 72(4): 876-886, 2012.

Holmgaard RB, Zamarin D, Munn DH, Wolchok JD and Allison J. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase is a critical resistance mechanism in antitumor T cell immunotherapy targeting CTLA-4. J Exp Med, 2013.

Postow MA, Callahan MK, Barker CA, Yamada Y, Yuan J, Kitano S, Mu Z, Rasalan T, Adamow M, Ritter E, Sedrak C, Jungbluth AA, Chua R, Yang AS, Roman RA, Rosner S, Benson B, Allison JP, Lesokhin AM, Gnjatic S, Wolchok JD. Immunologic correlates of the abscopal effect in a patient with melanoma. N Engl J Med. 366(10):925-31, 2012.

*Wolchok JD, Kluger H, Callahan MK, Postow MA, Rizvi NA, Lesokhin AM, Segal NH, Ariyan CE, Gordon R, Reed K, Burke MM, Caldwell A, Kronenberg SA, Agunwamba BU, Zhang X, Lowy I, Inzunza HD, Feely W, Horak CE, Hong Q, Korman AJ, Wigginton JM, Gupta A, Sznol M.  Nivolumab (Anti-PD-1) plus Ipilimumab (Anti-CTLA-4) in Advanced Melanoma. NEJM 2013 In Press.