Biography

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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.

Education

Graduate School
UC San Diego School of Medicine (2007)
Medical School
UC San Diego School of Medicine (2011)
Internship
UC San Diego Medical Center (2012), Internal Medicine
Residency
Stanford University Medical Center (2016), Radiation Oncology
Fellowship
Stanford University Medical Center (2017), Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology

Publications

Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

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
Sociodemographic Disparities in the Receipt of Adjuvant Chemotherapy Among Patients With Resected Stage I-III Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.
Sanford NN, Aguilera TA, Folkert MR, Ahn C, Mahal BA, Zeh H, Beg MS, Mansour J, Sher DJ, J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2019 Nov 17 11 1292-1300
The use of texture-based radiomics CT analysis to predict outcomes in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer treated with stereotactic ablative radiotherapy.
Starkov P, Aguilera TA, Golden DI, Shultz DB, Trakul N, Maxim PG, Le QT, Loo BW, Diehn M, Depeursinge A, Rubin DL Br J Radiol 2019 Feb 92 1094 20180228
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
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 Dec 35 12 2620-2630
Induction of LIFR confers a dormancy phenotype in breast cancer cells disseminated to the bone marrow.
Johnson RW, Finger EC, Olcina MM, Vilalta M, Aguilera T, Miao Y, Merkel AR, Johnson JR, Sterling JA, Wu JY, Giaccia AJ Nat. Cell Biol. 2016 Sep 18 10 1078-1089
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
Early-Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Quantitative Imaging Characteristics of (18)F Fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT Allow Prediction of Distant Metastasis.
Wu J, Aguilera T, Shultz D, Gudur M, Rubin DL, Loo BW, Diehn M, Li R Radiology 2016 Apr 151829

Honors & Awards

  • Henry S. Kaplan Fellow
    Stanford Department or Radiation Oncology (2016-2017)
  • Malcom A. Bagshaw Symposium, Best Research Presentation
    (2015-2015)
  • American Board of Radiology Holman Research Resident
    (2014-2016)
  • ASTRO Resident Seed Grant
    (2014-2015)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • 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)