Melody Smith earned her MD with Distinction in Research from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas in 2009 and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She was a fellow in Medical Hematology & Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 2012 to 2015 after which she joined the Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Service
The focus of her research is the utilization of CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells in an effort to maintain graft versus tumor activity and attenuate graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in the treatment of CD19 hematologic malignancies. Melody works with a mouse model to analyze the mechanism whereby CD19 CAR T cells suppress GVHD. She is also investigating approaches to optimize the administration of CD19 CAR T cells. This research has the potential to benefit patients, as it would be a strategy to decrease GVHD in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients.
In collaboration with Dr. Michel Sadelain, we are utilizing CD19 CAR constructs that target murine CD19, which are identical to the CD19 CAR T cells that are used in our clinical trials to treat CD19 positive hematological malignancies. These CD19 CAR T cells are engineered from donor T cells and administered in the allo-HSCT setting.
- American Society of Hematology Minority Medical Student Award Program (2005 & 2006)
- American Society of Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Research Training Course (2015)
- European Hematology Association and the American Society of Hematology Translational Research Training in Hematology (2015)
- NIH T32 Institutional Clinical Scholars Training Grant (2013-2015)
- The Lymphoma Foundation Mortimer J. Lacher Grant (2013-2015)
- NIH Diversity Supplement (R01 AI 100288) (2014 to present)