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Immunotherapy Experts and Information for Media

Immunotherapy refers to treatments that use the body’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. There are many different types of immunotherapy; these medicines can boost the overall immune system or train the immune system to find and kill specific cancer cells. At St. Jude, one type of immunotherapy undergoing testing in the clinic is chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. CAR T-cell therapies are designed to target a specific molecule present on the surface of a cancer cell.

Learn more about immunotherapy treatment and clinical trial experiences at St. Jude.

To schedule an interview with one of these experts, email

Immunotherapy Experts

  • Stephen Gottschalk, MD

    Stephen Gottschalk, MD, St. Jude Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy chair, focuses his research on cancer immunotherapy, cell therapy and stem cell transplantation. He leads a team of clinical and scientific researchers conducting clinical studies with highly specific T cells for patients with blood cancers and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), as well as brain and other solid tumors. The Gottschalk laboratory focuses on Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific T cells for treating EBV-associated cancers and using genetically modified T cells for cancer immunotherapy. He can also speak on the successful cure, pioneered at St. Jude, of X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID), also known as Bubble Boy Disease.

  • Giedre Krenciute, PhD

    Giedre Krenciute, PhD, St. Jude Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy is a leading investigator in the field of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells.  Her research focuses on understanding T-cell regulation to improve immunotherapeutic approaches for patient populations. Krenciute’s recent work has focused on developing and characterizing CARs specific to brain tumors, and she has made several key contributions to improving the understanding of CAR T cell function. By re-educating the immune system, this work may help improve tumor detection along with the persistence, efficacy and safety of immune effector cells to optimize immunotherapy for patients. 

  • Paulina Velasquez, MD

    Paulina Velasquez, MD, St. Jude Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, has made significant contributions to the field of immunotherapy, developing novel T-cell therapy platforms for pediatric hematological malignancies. Her team is pursuing projects that address antigen discovery, tumor immune evasion, persistence and efficacy of CAR T cells and cell-cell interaction within the tumor microenvironment. 

  • Benjamin A. Youngblood, PhD

    Benjamin Youngblood, PhD, St. Jude Department of Immunology, addresses some of the most challenging issues facing biomedical research by developing effective T-cell-based immunotherapies. His research focuses on how the immune system responds to tumors and why T Cells (which fight disease and infection) sometimes stop working in the case of cancer. Youngblood discovered a mechanism to turn exhausted T cells back on to fight tumor or virus-infected cells. Once the cells remember how to fight the tumors or infections, they can work to eliminate the disease.