Primary Research Focus
The host immune response is critical for the clearance of head and neck cancer during chemoradiotherapy (CRT). The Powell Lab focuses on evaluating human bio specimens to assess targets for novel therapies to augment this response during CRT.
The lab also evaluates immune biomarkers in this setting, and evaluates the peripheral blood immunocyte response during standard CRT and during investigational immunotherapy combination CRT clinical studies.
The lab assesses patient immune phenotype and functional response during treatment to determine peripheral blood immune response. It also investigates tumor and tumor microenvironment factors that may impact the host immune response.
Working with other labs, the Powell Lab uses an immune competent mouse model that harbors HPV and tumors to explore novel immuno-oncology agents combined with CRT.
The lab’s goal is to develop a biomarker-driven approach, to include novel therapeutics, into the management of advanced head and neck cancer.
About the Powell Lab
Lab Projects and News
The Impact of PD-1 Inhibition on Immune-Response to Chemoradiotherapy
The Powell Lab performs first-in-human clinical trials combining the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab to curative intent chemo radiation in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
This study aims to define the factors critical for response to therapy by evaluating peripheral blood immunocyte response and identifying important tumor-based biomarkers.
Meet the Powell Lab Team
Juan Luis Callejas Valera, PhD
As a staff scientist in the Powell Lab, Juan Luis Callejas Valera writes technical summaries and co-authors articles for publication, and assists in completion of grant applications and other regulatory documents. He also designs and conduct experiments, and analyzes and interprets data.
Callejas Valera earned his Ph.D. in experimental biomedicine from Castilla-La Mancha University in Ciudad Real, Spain in 2011.
Caitlin Williamson, BS
Caitlin Williamson processes blood specimens from head and neck cancer patients to isolate plasma, serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. She also Isolates DNA and RNA from solid cancer tumors, and determines human papillomavirus status using polymerase chain reaction.
Williamson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD in 2011.