Date(s) - 10/31/2022
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Despite the remarkable promise of cancer immunotherapy, a significant fraction of patients with solid tumors are yet unable to realize its unparalleled benefits. In this talk, I will introduce focused ultrasound (FUS) – a promising emerging technology for the non-invasive, non-ionizing, and precisely targeted deposition of acoustic energy into tumor tissues – as a strategy for immuno-modulation and immunotherapy delivery in primary and disseminated cancers of the brain and breast. I will provide an overview of (1) our pre-clinical work at the nexus of FUS, molecular imaging, and cancer immunotherapy and (2) the rich landscape for clinical translation of FUS immunotherapy paradigms at UVA. Finally, I will discuss our proposed approach for ushering FUS into the era of precision immuno-oncology by leveraging advanced imaging, liquid biopsy, and artificial intelligence-driven approaches.
Natasha Sheybani, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and (by courtesy) of Radiology & Medical Imaging and Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia. She also serves as Research Director for the UVA Focused Ultrasound Cancer Immunotherapy Center. Her research centers on investigating the use of focused ultrasound and advanced imaging for the design and deployment of precision cancer immunotherapy paradigms in solid tumors of the brain and periphery. In 2021, she became UVA’s first-ever recipient of the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. She has formerly held the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the Robert R. Wagner Fellowship, and was also UVA’s first recipient of the NCI Predoctoral-to-Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00). Dr. Sheybani received her B.S. (with Honors) in Biomedical Engineering as a Eugene P. Trani Scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University. She then completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at UVA and a postdoctoral fellowship in Oncology, Biomedical Data Science and Radiology at Stanford University. She has been recognized by health news website STAT as a “Wunderkind” and was recently elected to Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” List in Science.