Dr. Aguilera is a physician-scientist trained as a radiation oncologist with expertise in molecular engineering, molecular imaging, the tumor microenvironment, and tumor immunology. He 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 graduate work focused 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 to establish his research group who will continue 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.
- Other Post Graduate Training
- UC San Diego School of Medicine (2007)
- Graduate School
- UC San Diego School of Medicine (2007)
- Medical School
- UC San Diego School of Medicine (2011)
- UC San Diego Medical Center (2012), Internal Medicine
- Stanford University Medical Center (2016), Radiation Oncology
- Stanford University Medical Center (2017), Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology
- Induced Tumor Heterogeneity Reveals Factors Informing Radiation and Immunotherapy Combinations.
- Aguilera TA, Elghonaimy EA, Shehade H, Rafat M, Castellini L, Jiang D, Kariolis M, Koong AC, Le QT, Ellies LG, Rankin EB, Graves EE, Giaccia AJ, Clin. Cancer Res. 2020 Jun 26 12 2972-2985
- Galectin-1-driven T cell exclusion in the tumor endothelium promotes immunotherapy resistance.
- Nambiar DK, Aguilera T, Cao H, Kwok S, Kong C, Bloomstein J, Wang Z, Rangan VS, Jiang D, von Eyben R, Liang R, Agarwal S, Colevas AD, Korman A, Allen CT, Uppaluri R, Koong AC, Giaccia A, Le QT, J. Clin. Invest. 2019 Nov
- Macrophages Promote Circulating Tumor Cell-Mediated Local Recurrence Following Radiation Therapy in Immunosuppressed Patients.
- Rafat M, Aguilera TA, Vilalta M, Bronsart LL, Soto LA, von Eyben R, Golla MA, Ahrari Y, Melemenidis S, Afghahi A, Jenkins MJ, Kurian AW, Horst K, Giaccia AJ, Graves EE Cancer Res. 2018 Jun
- Molecular Pathways: Oncologic Pathways and Their Role in T-cell Exclusion and Immune Evasion-A New Role for the AXL Receptor Tyrosine Kinase.
- Aguilera TA, Giaccia AJ Clin. Cancer Res. 2017 Jun 23 12 2928-2933
- Reprogramming the immunological microenvironment through radiation and targeting Axl.
- Aguilera TA, Rafat M, Castellini L, Shehade H, Kariolis MS, Hui AB, Stehr H, von Eyben R, Jiang D, Ellies LG, Koong AC, Diehn M, Rankin EB, Graves EE, Giaccia AJ Nat Commun 2016 Dec 7 13898
- In vivo characterization of activatable cell penetrating peptides for targeting protease activity in cancer.
- Olson ES, Aguilera TA, Jiang T, Ellies LG, Nguyen QT, Wong EH, Gross LA, Tsien RY Integr Biol (Camb) 2009 Jun 1 5-6 382-93
- Systemic in vivo distribution of activatable cell penetrating peptides is superior to that of cell penetrating peptides.
- Aguilera TA, Olson ES, Timmers MM, Jiang T, Tsien RY Integr Biol (Camb) 2009 Jun 1 5-6 371-81
- Ablative radiotherapy in oligometastatic pancreatic cancer to delay polyprogression, limit chemotherapy, and improve outcomes.
- Elamir AM, Karalis JD, Sanford NN, Polanco PM, Folkert MR, Porembka MR, Kazmi SA, Maddipati R, Zeh HJ, Timmerman RD, Zhang S, Ligorio M, Beg MS, Aguilera TA, Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2022 Jul
- Personalized Ultrafractionated Stereotactic Adaptive Radiotherapy (PULSAR) in Preclinical Models Enhances Single-Agent Immune Checkpoint Blockade.
- Moore C, Hsu CC, Chen WM, Chen BPC, Han C, Story M, Aguilera T, Pop LM, Hannan R, Fu YX, Saha D, Timmerman R, Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2021 Aug 110 5 1306-1316
- Disparities in Characteristics, Access to Care, and Oncologic Outcomes in Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer at a Safety-Net Hospital.
- Fangman BD, Goksu SY, Chowattukunnel N, Beg MS, Sanford NN, Sanjeevaiah A, Cox J, Folkert MR, Aguilera TA, Mathews J, Pogacnik JS, Khatri G, Olson C, Polanco PM, Verma U, Hsiehchen D, Jones A, Kainthla R, Kazmi SM, JCO Oncol Pract 2021 May 17 5 e614-e622
Honors & Awards
- Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Research Award
- Shelby Family Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation Award
- UT Southwestern Presidents Research Council: Distinguished Researcher Award
- CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research
- Henry S. Kaplan Fellow
Stanford Department or Radiation Oncology (2016-2017)
- American Board of Radiology Holman Research Resident
- ASTRO Resident Seed Grant
- America Association for Cancer Research (2012-2017)
- American Scociety of Clinical Oncology (2013-2017)
- American Society for Radiation Oncology (2011-2017)
- Radiological Society of North America (2011-2017)
- Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (2015-2017)