Polly Chuntova

Polly Chuntova, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

My research interests span the fields of cancer biology and immunology. In particular, I’m interested in harnessing the therapeutic potential of immune cells for the treatment of cancer.

During my Ph.D. work, I performed experiments which revealed the complexity of signaling pathways that guide the infiltration, differentiation, and activity of tumor-associated myeloid cells and prompted me to continue my training focusing on immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of brain tumors.

As part of the Okada lab, my work is focused on developing innovative tools for the study of chimeric antigen receptor (CARs) therapies in glioblastoma (GBM) patients. For example, we are working to establish a novel preclinical CAR-T model that will allows us to quickly screen various T-cell modifications for patients with a mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFRvIII), who represent around 30% of those suffering with GBM. The median survival time for patients newly diagnosed with GBM is 15 months, and for those with EGFRvIII positive tumors, survival outcomes are even worse. We believe that novel immunotherapeutic approaches, such as CAR-T, can aid in filling the acute clinical need for improved GBM treatments. 

Email: pavlina.chuntova@ucsf.edu

Education and Training

2008                Bachelors of Arts, Biology Department; Macalester College

2008-2010      Junior Scientist, Department of Pediatrics and Hematology/Oncology; University of MN

2010-2016      Ph.D. in Cancer Biology, Laboratory of Dr. Kathyn L. Schwertfeger; University of MN

2016-now       Postdoctoral Scholar, Laboratory of Dr. Hideho Okada; UCSF

Selected Awards

2014    Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

2014     American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Scholar-In-Training Award, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, San Antonio, TX

2015    Roza Steer Breast Cancer Research Award, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN