Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program

The Vinod Balachandran Lab


Pictured: Dr. Vinod Balachandran
Vinod Balachandran, MD
Member, David. M Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Our goal is to discover new ways to stimulate the immune system to treat cancer through careful study of rare cancer patients with exceptional outcomes. We believe that deep study of these remarkable patients will identify fundamental mechanisms of how the immune system controls cancers, and accelerate the discovery of new effective drugs. We use this approach to study pancreatic cancer, a model deadly cancer that is refractory to all treatments including immunotherapy – and specifically focus on a rare subgroup of pancreatic cancer patients with exceptional long-term survival to discover new immunotherapeutic approaches. Our long-term vision is to use a similar approach of study of biological extremes to usher in the next generation of cancer immunotherapies.

Balachandran Lab 2023

Publications Highlights

Rojas LA, Sethna ZM, Soares K, Olcese C, Pang N, Patterson E, Lihm J, Ceglia N, Guasp P, Chu A, Yu R, Chandra AK, Waters T, Ruan J, Amisaki M, Zebboudj A, Odgerel Z, George Payne, Derhovanessian E, Rhee I, Yadav M, Dobrin A, Sadelain M, … Balachandran VPPersonalized RNA neoantigen vaccines stimulate T cells in pancreatic cancer. Nature. 2023 May 10.

Łuksza M, Sethna ZM, Rojas LA, Lihm J, Bravi B, Elhanati Y, Soares K, Amisaki M, Dobrin A, Hoyos D, Guasp P, Zebboudj A, Yu R, Chandra AK, Waters T, Odgerel Z, Leung J, Kappagantula R, Makohon-Moore A, Johns A, Gill A, Gigoux M, Wolchok J, Merghoub T, Sadelain M, Patterson E, Monasson R, Mora T, Walczak AM, Cocco S, Iacobuzio-Donahue C, Greenbaum BD, Balachandran VP. Neoantigen quality predicts immunoediting in survivors of pancreatic cancer. Nature. 2022 May 19.

Moral JA, Leung J, Rojas LA, Ruan J, Zhao J, Sethna Z, Ramnarain A, Gasmi B, Gururajan M, Redmond D, Askan G, Bhanot U, Elyada E, Park Y, Tuveson DA, Goen M, Leach SD, Wolchok JD, DeMatteo RP, Merghoub T & Balachandran VP. ILC2s amplify PD-1 blockade by activating tissue-specific cancer immunity. Nature. 2020 Feb 19.

Balachandran VP, Łuksza M, Zhao JN, Makarov V, Moral JA, Remark R, Herbst B, Askan G, Bhanot U, Senbabaoglu Y, Wells DK, Cary CIO, Grbovic-Huezo O, Attiyeh M, Medina B, Zhang J, Loo J, Saglimbeni J, Abu-Akeel M, Zappasodi R, Riaz N, Smoragiewicz M, Kelley ZL, Basturk O; Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative; Gönen M, Levine AJ, Allen PJ, Fearon DT, Merad M, Gnjatic S, Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, Wolchok JD, DeMatteo RP, Chan TA, Greenbaum BD, Merghoub T, Leach SD. Identification of unique neoantigen qualities in long-term survivors of pancreatic cancer. Nature. 2017 Nov 8. doi: 10.1038/nature24462. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 29132146

Balachandran VP, Cavnar MJ, Zeng S, Bamboat ZM, Ocuin LM, Obaid H, Sorenson EC, Popow R, Ariyan C, Rossi F, Besmer P, Guo T, Antonescu CR, Taguchi T, Yuan J, Wolchok JD, Allison JP, DeMatteo RP. Imatinib potentiates antitumor T cell responses in gastrointestinal stromal tumor through the inhibition of Ido. Nature Medicine. 2011 Aug 28;17(9):1094-100. doi: 10.1038/nm.2438. PMID: 21873989

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Pictured: Dr. Vinod Balachandran

Vinod Balachandran, MD

Member, David. M Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research

  • Surgeon scientist Vinod Balachandran develops novel immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer.
  • MD, State University of New York at Stony Brook
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Masataka Amisaki

Research Scholar

Pablo Guasp Baratech
Pablo Guasp Baratech

Research Fellow

Emmanuel M. Bruno

GSK PhD student

Martina Milighetti

Research Fellow

Zagaa Odgerel
Zagaa Odgerel

Lab Manager

Akihiro Ohmoto
Akihiro Ohmoto

Research Associate

George Payne
George Payne

Research Technician

Charlotte Reiche

Research Fellow

Zachary Sethna, PhD
Zachary Sethna

Research Associate

Abderezak Zebboudj
Abderezak Zebboudj

Research Fellow

Linsey Zhang

GSK Graduate Student

Lab Alumni
Christian Brodala

Administrative Assistant

Joanne Leung, Ph.D.
Joanne Leung

Postdoctoral Research Scholar

John Alec Moral

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Karina Ng
Karina Ng

Summer Student 2018

Luis A. Rojas

Research Fellow

Jenni Ruan

Research Technician

Theresa Waters
Theresa Waters

Research Technician

Rebecca Yu

Research Technician

Julia Nanyi Zhao

Research Technician

Lab Affiliations


  • FNIH Trailblazer Prize for Clinical-Scientists (2023)
  • Louise and Allston Boyer Young Investigator Award (2021)
  • Pershing Square Sohn Prize (2020)
  • Society of Immunotherapy for Cancer Presidential Award (2017)
  • National Cancer Institute Cancer Moonshot Award (2017)
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  • Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award (2017)
  • AACR/Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Career Development Award (2017)
  • NCI Paul Calabresi Career Development Award (2016)
  • Society of Surgical Oncology Harvey Barker Award (2015)
  • David and Monica Gorin Fellow Award (2013)
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Chairman’s Award for Best Basic Science Research (2010)
  • Society of University Surgeons Research Fellowship Award (2009)
  • Alpha Omega Alpha

Open Positions

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Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.

MSK requires doctors and faculty members to report (“disclose”) the relationships and financial interests they have with external entities. As a commitment to transparency with our community, we make that information available to the public.

Vinod Balachandran discloses the following relationships and financial interests:

  • Genentech
    Professional Services and Activities

The information published here is for a specific annual disclosure period. There may be differences between information on this and other public sites as a result of different reporting periods and/or the various ways relationships and financial interests are categorized by organizations that publish such data.

This page and data include information for a specific MSK annual disclosure period (January 1, 2022 through disclosure submission in spring 2023). This data reflects interests that may or may not still exist. This data is updated annually.

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