Timothy Bullock, PhD • 2019 SITC Election


Dr. Bullock received his PhD in Immunology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in 1996. He subsequently received post-doctoral training at the University of Virginia (UVA) as a fellow of the Cancer Research Institute, in the laboratory of Dr. Vic Engelhard. During this time, he began to unravel how the qualities of immune responses to cancer vaccines impacted tumor outgrowth. Dr. Bullock received a Howard Temin K01 Award to initiate his independent position at UVA to further study approaches to improve the efficacy of cancer vaccines. In 2003 he was recruited into a tenure-track position with the Human Immune Therapy Center and Department of Pathology at UVA, where he received Young Investigator/Scholar awards from the Cancer Research Institute; the Dana Foundation; the Sidney Kimmel Foundation and the Melanoma Research Alliance. He rose through the ranks and now is a tenured Associate Professor at UVA. Dr. Bullock has published nearly 50 manuscripts pertaining to immune responses and their manipulation in the context of cancer and is supported by federal and philanthropic grants and collaborations with biotech. His highly collaborative lab continues to pursue aspects of basic and translational immunology that impact on the capacity of T cell responses to control tumor outgrowth, with a special emphasis on costimulation and the transcriptional and metabolic regulation of T cell function within tumors and in responses to vaccines, and how to integrate conventional and novel therapies, such as focused ultrasound, with immunotherapy. He helped organize the SITC Primer 2017-2018, and serves on the Immuno-Oncology advisory board for the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.

SITC Election Platform Statement

What are the two or three critical issues facing the field of cancer immunotherapy?

  1. On trial biopsies are potential treasure-troves of information. We need to expand access to high dimensional data derived from these materials so that all interested parties have opportunities to develop hypotheses that can explain resistance to immunotherapy, and promote the collaborations with AI and machine-learning experts to help mine this data.

  2. The NCI funding rates are at critically low rates just when we need to press on with the gains achieved through cancer immunotherapy. This imperils not only young investigators, but established labs that have supported the development of cancer immunotherapy.

What is your vision for SITC?

I see SITC as a gathering point in the immuno-oncology field that promotes interaction between tumor immunologists; immunologists trained in other diseases; specialists from other fields; researchers and practitioners; between discoverers, implementers and regulators; all of which should provide an environment for the development of revolutionary concepts and the evaluation of the relationship between tumors and the immune system. As an organization we need to hear more from patients and practitioners so that SITC can promote patient access to trials with designs that not only successfully recruit patients, but make it easier to acquire the critical materials necessary to understand the basis of responses or the lack of them. SITC should also be an opportunity to promote translational research by helping educate and inform. Currently we do a great job of bringing immunology to the community, but we need to implement opportunities where the community can inform immunologists of their skills.