Dr. Conejo-Garcia’s research program focuses on investigating and targeting the mechanisms governing the balance between immunosuppression and protective immunity in the tumor microenvironment, with an emphasis on the crosstalk between innate (gd) and adaptive (ab) T and B lymphocytes. By combining translational experiments using clinical specimens with mechanistic studies in mouse models, Dr. Conejo-Garcia’s research program has contributed in various roles to elucidate multiple mechanisms governing protective immunity against cancer. His NCI-funded studies on humoral anti-tumor immunity, novel checkpoint inhibitory pathways and T cell lymphoma support a combination of basic and translational researchers in his group, plus clinical fellows and physician-scientists mentored through K awards; all focused on the immunobiology of cancer and developing novel immunotherapies. Dr. Conejo-Garcia has also been an active contributor to active clinical trials against different human malignancies, including an ongoing clinical trial using novel CAR T cells to treat recurrent ovarian cancer, based on discoveries pioneered in his laboratory.
Dr. Conejo-Garcia completed his medical degree at the University of Zaragoza, in Spain. After a residency in Clinical Chemistry and a PhD in Molecular Medicine from the University of Alcala, also in Spain, he trained as a postdoctoral fellow in pancreatic cancer at the University of Bern, Switzerland, before moving to Germany to lead a project of the discovery and characterization of antimicrobial peptides. In 2001 he joined the ovarian cancer team of George Coukos at the University of Pennsylvania that shortly afterwards identified for the first time the role of T cell responses in the outcome of ovarian cancer patients. He then joined the Department of Immunology at Dartmouth College, before moving back to the Penn Campus to lead the Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program at The Wistar Institute. Dr. Conejo-Garcia joined Moffitt in November 2016 and led the department of Immunology and the Immuno-Oncology Program for 6 years. He is currently a Duke Science and Technology Scholar at Duke School of Medicine and the Duke Cancer Institute, and a temporary instructor in the Department of Immunology at Duke.
Dr. Conejo-Garcia has trained 5 current faculty at top national and international institutions; his work is cited >2,500 times per year; serves as a reviewer on several editorial boards; completed his tenure as a chartered member of the TTT NIH study section; is a current member of a CPRIT review panel; and has presented his work in top institutions in 3 continents.