Ryan Reyes, Ph.D.
Ryan Reyes completed his PhD in the lab of Tyler Curiel, MD, MPH in the spring of 2021. As a student in the South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD Program), Ryan has transitioned back to medical school for his final two years of clinical training before an anticipated MD graduation of May 2023. Ryan's graduate work focused on cancer immunotherapy using mouse models for translational research. Ryan’s project focused on the use of novel approaches to target cancer fighting immune cells in the tumor microenvironment of bladder cancer. Ryan intends to pursue a research residency/fellowship in Internal Medicine/Hematology & Oncology.
I am from New Waverly, a town of 1,000 people in East Texas where I grew up playing sports and eating at Subway, the only chain restaurant in our town. I then chased (nonexistent) athletic glory playing baseball in college at the University of Arkansas-Monticello, where I also double majored in Biology and Chemistry. From there, I did a one-year post-bac at Yale where I used mouse models of lung cancer to study the tumor microenvironment effects of targeted therapies and immunotherapies. After joining the MD/PhD program at UT Health San Antonio, I continued in the field of cancer immunotherapy and used mouse tumor models to uncover how FDA-approved and experimental cytokine-based immunotherapies differentially target specific immune cell populations at primary and metastatic sites, to boost anti-tumor immunity. Through all of this, I have continually failed and had steadfast help getting back up thanks to my faith, wife, kids, and pups who don’t seem to care about anything related to science or medicine.
Family time outdoors, trail running and ultra-distance races, professional lawn care.
Cancer immunotherapy, tumor microenvironment, cytokine biology
Why I chose MD/PhD
The holistic healing provided by the doctors caring for my mother-in-law during her fight with metastatic breast cancer convinced me that my calling was to be a physician, walking alongside people with terminal illness. The lack of treatment options she had at the end of her life and my curiosity as to why her treatments were ineffective prompted me to become a scientist.
Why I chose MD/PhD at UT Health San Antonio
During the interviewing and recruitment process, I was struck by how deeply the program leadership invested in the success of each individual and the mechanisms in place to provide academic and emotional support in times of difficulty. UT Health San Antonio also offered an unparalleled combination of top-ranked medical education and expansive research opportunities in one of the most affordable big cities in the US. These factors all contributed to the decision to choose this program and begin building my academic and family life in San Antonio.
Post-bac work or other affiliations
NIH Post-baccalaureate research education program (PREP), Yale University, 2014-2015
Reyes, R. M., Deng, Y., Zhang, D., Ji, N., Mukherjee, N., Wheeler, K., Gupta, H. B., Padron, A. S., Kancharla, A., Zhang, C., Garcia, M., Kornepati, A., Boyman, O., Conejo-Garcia, J. R., Svatek, R. S., & Curiel, T. J. (2021). CD122-directed interleukin-2 treatment mechanisms in bladder cancer differ from αPD-L1 and include tissue-selective γδ T cell activation. Journal for immunotherapy of cancer, 9(4), e002051. https://doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-002051
Reyes, R. M.§, Zhang, C.§, Deng, Y., Ji, N., Mukherjee, N., Padron, A. S., Clark, C. A., Svatek, R. S., & Curiel, T. J. (2021). CD122-targeted interleukin-2 and αPD-L1 treat bladder cancer and melanoma via distinct mechanisms, including CD122-driven natural killer cell maturation. Oncoimmunology, 10(1), 2006529. 2021.2006529">2021.2006529">https://doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2021.2006529 §indicates joint first authorship
Reyes, R. M., Rios, E., Barney, S., Hugen, C. M., Michalek, J. E., Lotan, Y., Messing, E. M., & Svatek, R. S. (2021). A Randomized Feasibility Trial Comparing Surveillance Regimens for Patients with Low and Low-Intermediate Risk Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer. Bladder cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 7(3), 285–295. https://doi.org/10.3233/blc-201535
Zhang, D.§, Reyes, R. M.§, Osta, E., Kari, S., Gupta, H. B., Padron, A. S., Kornepati, A., Kancharla, A., Sun, X., Deng, Y., Wu, B., Vadlamudi, R., Li, R., Svatek, R. S., & Curiel, T. J. (2021). Bladder cancer cell-intrinsic PD-L1 signals promote mTOR and autophagy activation that can be inhibited to improve cytotoxic chemotherapy. Cancer medicine, 10(6), 2137–2152. https://doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3739 §indicates joint first authorship
Deng, Y., Reyes, R. M., Zhang, C., Conejo-Garcia, J., & Curiel, T. J. (2021). Targeting Ovarian Cancer with IL-2 Cytokine/Antibody Complexes: A Summary and Recent Advances. Journal of Cellular Immunology, 3(6), 387-396.
Ji, N., Mukherjee, N., Reyes, R. M., Gelfond, J., Javors, M., Meeks, J. J., McConkey, D. J., Shu, Z. J., Ramamurthy, C., Dennett, R., Curiel, T. J., & Svatek, R. S. (2021). Rapamycin enhances BCG-specific γδ T cells during intravesical BCG therapy for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer: a randomized, double-blind study. Journal for immunotherapy of cancer, 9(3), e001941. https://doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001941
Ji, N., Mukherjee, N., Shu, Z. J., Reyes, R. M., Meeks, J. J., McConkey, D. J., Gelfond, J. A., Curiel, T. J., & Svatek, R. S. (2021). γδ T Cells Support Antigen-Specific αβ T cell-Mediated Antitumor Responses during BCG Treatment for Bladder Cancer. Cancer immunology research, 9(12), 1491–1503. https://doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-21-0285
Garcia, M. G., Deng, Y., Murray, C., Reyes, R. M., Padron, A., Bai, H., Kancharla, A., Gupta, H., Shen-Orr, S., & Curiel, T. J. (2022). Immune checkpoint expression and relationships to anti‐PD‐L1 immune checkpoint blockade cancer immunotherapy efficacy in aged versus young mice. Aging and Cancer, 3(1), 68-83. https://doi.org/10.1002/aac2.12045
Drerup, J. M., Deng, Y., Pandeswara, S. L., Padrón, Á. S., Reyes, R. M., Zhang, X., Mendez, J., Liu, A., Clark, C. A., Chen, W., Conejo-Garcia, J. R., Hurez, V., Gupta, H., & Curiel, T. J. (2020). CD122-Selective IL2 Complexes Reduce Immunosuppression, Promote Treg Fragility, and Sensitize Tumor Response to PD-L1 Blockade. Cancer research, 80(22), 5063–5075. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-0002
Rios, E. M., Parma, M. A., Fernandez, R. A., Clinton, T. N., Reyes, R. M., Kaushik, D., Pruthi, D., Mansour, A. M., Mukherjee, N., Gelfond, J., Wheeler, K. M., & Svatek, R. S. (2020). Urinary Diversion Disparity Following Radical Cystectomy for Bladder Cancer in the Hispanic Population. Urology, 137, 66–71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.urology.2019.12.017
B.S., University of Arkansas at Monticello
Ph.D., Integrated Biomedical Sciences: Molecular Immunology & Microbiology, UT Health San Antonio, 2021
Dissertation Title: "Microenvironment-Specific Immunity Alters Anti-Programmed Death Ligand 1 And Interleukin-2 Receptor-Targeted Immunotherapy Responses In Bladder Cancer ." Defended on March 16, 2021.
2021: Top Student Presentation, The Robert A. Clark Frontiers of Translational Science Research Day, Mays Cancer Center Retreat, & UT Health San Antonio MD/PhD Retreat
2020: American Association of Immunologists Trainee Abstract Award for Oral Presentation and UT Health San Antonio Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics Department Travel Award. Biology of Aging T32 Predoctoral Trainee.
2019: Translational Science Training TL1 Program Scholar, UT Health San Antonio
2018: Travel Award for Poster Presentation, 33rd Annual National MD/PhD Student Conference