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

Parallel in vivo and in vitro selection using phage display identifies protease-dependent tumor-targeting peptides.
Whitney M, Crisp JL, Olson ES, Aguilera TA, Gross LA, Ellies LG, Tsien RY J. Biol. Chem. 2010 Jul 285 29 22532-41
Surgery with molecular fluorescence imaging using activatable cell-penetrating peptides decreases residual cancer and improves survival.
Nguyen QT, Olson ES, Aguilera TA, Jiang T, Scadeng M, Ellies LG, Tsien RY Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2010 Mar 107 9 4317-22
Activatable cell penetrating peptides linked to nanoparticles as dual probes for in vivo fluorescence and MR imaging of proteases.
Olson ES, Jiang T, Aguilera TA, Nguyen QT, Ellies LG, Scadeng M, Tsien RY Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2010 Mar 107 9 4311-6
Autofluorescent proteins with excitation in the optical window for intravital imaging in mammals.
Lin MZ, McKeown MR, Ng HL, Aguilera TA, Shaner NC, Campbell RE, Adams SR, Gross LA, Ma W, Alber T, Tsien RY Chem. Biol. 2009 Nov 16 11 1169-79
Mammalian expression of infrared fluorescent proteins engineered from a bacterial phytochrome.
Shu X, Royant A, Lin MZ, Aguilera TA, Lev-Ram V, Steinbach PA, Tsien RY Science 2009 May 324 5928 804-7

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)