Dr. Smith earned her MD with Distinction in Research from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 2009, and she finished a residency in Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2012. She completed a fellowship in Hematology & Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2015, after which she joined the Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Service. Dr. Smith obtained a Masters of Science in Clinical & Translational Investigation from Weill Cornell Graduate School in 2020.
Dr. Smith’s research interests explore the biology of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells in order to improve the efficacy and safety of this therapy (1) by investigating CAR T cells in an immunocompetent mouse model of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (allo-HCT) and (2) by assessing the impact of the intestinal microbiome on response.
As a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Marcel van den Brink, she has investigated the use of donor CD19-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells following allo-HCT as a strategy to reduce relapse. Her work in mouse models revealed that donor-derived second-generation CAR T cells, which express a murine CD19 and CD28 costimulatory molecule, mediate graft-versus-tumor activity while attenuating graft versus host disease (GVHD) (Nature Medicine, 2017). She also found that the putative mechanism of evading GVHD is that the alloreactive subset of donor CD19 CAR T cells experience exhaustion and activation-induced cell death. She wrote a Phase 1 clinical study (IRB Protocol No: 17-331, NCT04556266) based upon this preclinical data that is open for accrual at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as of the fall of 2020.
- ASH Oral Presentation, “Highly Selective Irreversible ITK Inhibitor CPI-818 Reduces Acute Graft-Versus Host Disease” (2021)
- Immuno-Oncology Young Investigators’ Forum, 1st Runner-Up for Clinician Scientist Award (2020)
- European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT), Best Basic Science Abstract Award (2019)
- American Society of Hematology (ASH), Abstract Achievement Award (2016)
- NIH Loan Repayment Award (LRP) (2016, 2019, 2020)
- European Hematology Association and the American Society of Hematology Translational Research Training in Hematology (2015)
- American Society of Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Research Training Course (2015)
- 1 K08 HL156082-01A1 (2021)
- Internal Diversity Enhancement Award (2020 - )
- Cycle for Survival Equinox Innovation Award in Rare Cancers (2019 - )
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ASH-Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AMFDP) (2018 - )
- Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Physician-Scientist Training Award (2017 - )
- Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Postdoctoral Enrichment Program Award (2017 - )
- Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI), Pilot Grant (PI) (2017 - 2019)
- American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT), New Investigator Award (2016 - 2018)
- NIH Diversity Supplement (R01 AI 100288) (2014 - 2016)
- NIH T32 Institutional Clinical Scholars Training Grant (2013 - 2015)
- The Lymphoma Foundation Mortimer J. Lacher Grant (2013 - 2015)
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Melody Smith discloses the following relationships and financial interests:
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