Assistant Affiliate Member, Research Institute
Dr. Foster earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney in 2003. After a short postdoc in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy supported by Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, and The Methodist Hospital, Dr. Foster was appointed to a faculty position. In 2009, he joined Houston Methodist Research Institute as an Assistant Affiliate Member where he conducts research focusing on immunotherapeutic targeting of cancer and cancer stem cells.
Dr. Foster's laboratory conducts basic and translational research in tumor biology and immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. His research interests include genetic modification of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and activated T cells (ATC) to improve their function (e.g. tumor specificity, survival and persistence, in vivo migration) following injection into patients. Dr. Foster is also investigating the use of T cells as a novel antigen presenting cell (TAPC) for use as a cancer vaccine and to deliver therapeutic molecules throughout the body. In collaboration with Dr. Rebekah Drezek at Rice University, Dr. Foster is investigating the use of T cells for the therapeutic delivery of gold nanoparticles into tumors. In addition to gene therapy applications using T cells, he is also leading research on targeting cancer stem cells (CSC) using cancer vaccines, antigen-specific CTLs, and gene-modified ATCs. CSCs possess increased resistance to commonly used chemotherapy agents, but are sensitive to immune-mediated killing. Therefore, Dr Foster's group is identifying novel antigens in CSCs from a variety of malignancies, including lymphoma and leukemia, to develop immunotherapies aimed at eliminating drug resistance CSCs.