Jennifer A. Wargo, MD, MMSc • 2021 SITC Election

Jennifer A. Wargo, MD, MMSc
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Dr. Wargo's career commitment has always been to advance the understanding and treatment of disease through science. After completing her medical degree, Dr. Wargo entered surgical residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School where she became interested in the biology and treatment of cancer. During the course of her training, she completed two fellowships in surgical oncology with a focus on immunotherapy for cancer. She was recruited to the Massachusetts General Hospital in July 2008 to join the faculty in the Division of Surgical Oncology and had an active research laboratory focusing on melanoma tumorigenesis and immunotherapy for melanoma and other cancers. There, she made the key observation that oncogenic mutations in BRAF impact anti-tumor immunity, and that by targeting oncogenic tumors you can make them more immunogenic and sensitize them to treatment with immunotherapy. She also began key studies in understanding responses to cancer immunotherapy, and is now considered to be one of the top world leaders in this area. She was recruited to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2013 where she holds the title of the R. Lee Clark endowed professor in Surgical Oncology - with a dual appointment in Genomic Medicine. At MD Anderson, she co-leads the Melanoma Moon Shot Program, is an active surgeon, and also runs an active translational research laboratory, performing transformative research with findings published in Nature, Cell, Science, and other top-tier journals. This includes her critical work on the role of the tumor and gut microbiome in cancer and immunotherapy response. Dr. Wargo is also program director of the newly founded Program for Innovative Microbiome and Translational Research at MD Anderson, and is a mentor and collaborator to many in the field of cancer research.

SITC Election Platform Statement

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

  1. Resistance to therapy and novel strategies to target it
  2. Immunotoxicity
  3. Cost and availability of treatment (including in earlier stage disease) as well as immunoprevention strategies

What is your vision for SITC?

To continue to lead cancer immunotherapy efforts and to connect investigators and key stakeholders worldwide, with the goal of improving the lives of cancer patients (and ultimately preventing cancer) using immunotherapy approaches