Florencia McAllister, M.D. is a physician-scientist who leads a basic and translational Immunology laboratory with the goal of making discoveries that can result in effective cancer early detection, immunoprevention and immunotherapy. McAllister has received Immunology post-graduate training with Jay Kolls, M.D., at the University of Pittsburgh, where she made several discoveries in T Helpers17 (TH17) cells biology, including the characterization of the lung epithelial IL-17 signaling pathway, the dissection of the role of IL-17 pathway in cystic fibrosis, the understanding of the function of IL-22 in innate immunity. Upon completion of her Internal Medicine in Pittsburgh, McAllister pursued a combined clinical training in Medical Oncology and Clinical Pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University, where she undertook postdoctoral research studies in Cancer Biology and Tumor Immunology in the laboratories of Steven Leach and Drew Pardoll, discovering the key role of TH17 cells in the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer. In 2012 McAllister was the recipient of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN)- AACR Samuel Stroum Fellowship and was awarded the Young Investigator Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation.
McAllister began her research lab at MD Anderson Cancer Center in the fall of 2014. Her lab focuses on understanding the role of the immune system in immunosurveillance and immunoevasion. More recently, the laboratory has developed an interest on dissecting the role of bacterial products in modulating cancer immune responses. McAllister has received the PanCAN-AACR Career Development Award in 2014 and a Translational Award in 2016. She is currently the recipient of a K12-Career Development Award from NCI, a V Foundation Research Scholar and received the Bernard Lee Schwartz Designated Research Scholar Award from the American Gastrointestinal Association.
McAllister is an attending in Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and leads a multi-disciplinary Pancreatic Cancer High-Risk Clinic in which patients with higher genetic susceptibility for pancreatic cancer undergo surveillance and elect to participate in a cohort with prospective biospecimens and data collection with the ultimate goal of validating novel biomarkers of risk and early detection of pancreatic cancer.