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.
- 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
- 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
- A 3-D Riesz-Covariance Texture Model for Prediction of Nodule Recurrence in Lung CT.
- Cirujeda P, Dicente Cid Y, Muller H, Rubin D, Aguilera TA, Loo BW, Diehn M, Binefa X, Depeursinge A IEEE Trans Med Imaging 2016 Jul
- The end of the hypoxic EPOch.
- Aguilera TA, Giaccia AJ Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. 2015 Apr 91 5 895-7
- 3D Riesz-wavelet based Covariance descriptors for texture classification of lung nodule tissue in CT.
- Cirujeda P, Muller H, Rubin D, Aguilera TA, Loo BW, Diehn M, Binefa X, Depeursinge A Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2015 2015 7909-12
- In vivo fluorescence imaging of atherosclerotic plaques with activatable cell-penetrating peptides targeting thrombin activity.
- Olson ES, Whitney MA, Friedman B, Aguilera TA, Crisp JL, Baik FM, Jiang T, Baird SM, Tsimikas S, Tsien RY, Nguyen QT Integr Biol (Camb) 2012 Jun 4 6 595-605
- Spiers Memorial Lecture. Breeding and building molecular spies.
- Shu X, Lev-Ram V, Olson ES, Aguilera TA, Jiang T, Whitney M, Crisp JL, Steinbach P, Deerinck T, Ellisman MH, Ellies LG, Nguyen QT, Tsien RY Faraday Discuss. 2011 149 9; discussion 63-77
- Fast 18F labeling of a near-infrared fluorophore enables positron emission tomography and optical imaging of sentinel lymph nodes.
- Ting R, Aguilera TA, Crisp JL, Hall DJ, Eckelman WC, Vera DR, Tsien RY Bioconjug. Chem. 2010 Oct 21 10 1811-9
Honors & Awards
- Henry S. Kaplan Fellow
Stanford Department or Radiation Oncology (2016-2017)
- Malcom A. Bagshaw Symposium, Best Research Presentation
- American Board of Radiology Holman Research Resident
- ASTRO Resident Seed Grant
- Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (2015-2017)
- American Scociety of Clinical Oncology (2013-2017)
- America Association for Cancer Research (2012-2017)
- American Society for Radiation Oncology (2011-2017)
- Radiological Society of North America (2011-2017)