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Our Researchers


Dr. Helen Heslop is a physician-scientist engaged in translational research focusing on adoptive immunotherapy with gene-modified effector cells, to improve hemopoietic stem cell transplantation and cancer therapy. A key step in this strategy has been the translation of laboratory findings to Phase I and II clinical trials, as exemplified by studies of Epstein Barr virus-induced lymphoproliferative disease (EBV-LPD), a fatal complication in about 15% of recipients of unrelated or mismatched family member bone marrow transplants in the early 1990s.



Dr. Nabil Ahmed is a physician-scientist engaged in translational research focusing on adoptive immunotherapy with gene-modified effector cells, to improve therapy for brain tumors. Dr Ahmed's initial studies demonstrated that antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells could eradicate established brain tumors in medulloblastoma and glioblastoma models. Subsequent studies have demonstrated that the tumor-specific T cells, unlike conventional therapies, can effectively target the stem cell compartment in the tumor eradicating experimental tumors in animal models.


Dr. Malcolm Brenner's primary research interest is the use of gene transfer to augment the immune response to human tumors, using vaccines and adoptive transfer of genetically modified T cells.

(832) 824-4671

Dr. Adrian Gee is director of the Clinical Applications Laboratory and the Cell Processing and Vector Production Core Laboratory at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine. His research interests include cellular therapy, stem cell transplantation, and regulatory issues and quality assurance.


Murine and human hematopoietic stem cells; genetic and epigenetic regulation and development.


Mrs. Bambi Grilley has worked in the area of Clinical Research for over 25 years. She has experience as an Investigational Drug Pharmacist, IRB administrator, IRB member, Regulatory Affairs professional, and in the conduct of clinical trials. She has always worked in the area of oncology and, in addition to that, has worked with cell and gene therapy protocols for over 15 years.


Solid tumors enable immune evasion by expressing high-levels of immune-inhibitory ligands that attenuate anti-tumor responses by inducing functional exhaustion and apoptotic death of the activated tumor-antigen specific T cells. Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1; B7-H1)/ programmed death protein-1 (PD-1; CD279) immune-checkpoint is a key mediator of this tumor-derived immune-inhibition.


Dr. Ann Leen’s research interests involve using cytotoxic T cells (CTL) for the prophylaxis and treatment of virus-associated malignancies. She is a member of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT).


Survival and Immunoreconstitution after Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant

Her clinical research interests focus on developing strategies to improve overall survival and immunoreconstitution after an umbilical cord blood transplant in pediatric patients with malignant or non-malignant diseases. Currently, she is the principal investigator of several clinical protocols using umbilical cord blood transplant for non-malignant and malignant diseases.

Treatment of Patients with Immunodeficiency Disorders


Dr. Leonid Metelitsa’s research focuses on understanding the role of Vα24-invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells in tumor immunity and translating this knowledge into NKT cell-based cancer immunotherapies. His group was the first to demonstrate that NKT cells localize to primary tumors in human patients and that presence of these cells at the tumor site is associated with favorable outcomes in the clinic (Metelitsa et al., JEM, 2004).

Clinic: 832-822-4242

Dr. Cliona Rooney’s research interests are immunotherapies for virus and non-virus-associated malignancies and diseases. In protocols developed with Dr. Helen Heslop, Dr. Malcolm Brenner, Dr. Stephen Gottschalk and Dr. Catherine Bollard, about 150 patients have received EBV or antigen-specific cytotoxic T-cells.