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Wistar Appoints Dr. Rahul Shinde as Inaugural Caspar Wistar Fellow

PHILADELPHIA — (July, 2, 2019) — The Wistar Institute, an international biomedical research leader in cancer, immunology, infectious disease and vaccine research, announces the appointment of Rahul Shinde, D.V.M., Ph.D., as the first Caspar Wistar Fellow.

Shinde’s research focuses on the role of specialized cells that act as a front-line defense system for our immune systems, called macrophages. He investigates how these cells alter the specialized milieu that surrounds a tumor, known as the the tumor microenvironment (TME), which is a key determinant of whether cancer is able to develop, progress and resist therapies.

The Caspar Wistar Fellows Program is a brand-new program and the only one of its kind in Philadelphia that fast-tracks the most promising, early-career scientists to pursue creative, out-of-the box biomedical research for the benefit of humanity. Shinde is the first to be selected into the Program, which cultivates accomplished, intellectually driven postdoctoral scientists from across the nation and beyond and provides Fellows both mentorship and freedom to pursue a strong, independent research program in their field.

Shinde’s laboratory at Wistar will study how alterations in the metabolism of macrophages contribute to their function in cancer progression. He is also interested in the gut microbiome and its connection in modulating the TME and tumor progression. Shinde aims to characterize the key factors that shift the balance between healthy and disease-modulating microbiome and identify new targets for therapies.

“Wistar is a leading research institute with a history of scientific excellence and a far-reaching vision of integrating basic, translational and disease-relevant cancer research for therapeutic benefits. I am thrilled to join the Institute through the Caspar Wistar Fellows Program and integrate my research into the Cancer Center’s innovative programs,” said Shinde. “I believe the state-of-the-art research facilities and the collaborative atmosphere at the Institute will provide excellent support, and I look forward to expanding my ongoing work and contributing to Wistar’s scientific mission.”

Shinde joins Wistar from Princess Margaret Cancer Center, Toronto, ON, Canada, where he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Tumor Immunotherapy Program. Shinde received a D.V.M. from Nagpur Veterinary College, Nagpur, India, and a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Augusta University, Augusta, GA.

“This new program was launched with the support of two remarkable donors, Doug and Peggy Briggs, to help recruit outstanding early-career scientists. I am pleased to name Rahul our first Caspar Wistar Fellow as he has distinguished himself with his outstanding postdoctoral work in tumor immunology and embodies the qualities we envisioned for this new position,” said Dario C. Altieri, M.D., president and CEO, director of the Cancer Center, and the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor at Wistar. “His research will further expand our program on myeloid cell biology and tumor immunology, and he brings a complementary body of knowledge through the critical understanding of the gut microbiome. I believe he will find the ideal support and freedom through this new program at Wistar to grow his scientific career and make important contributions to science.”

The Briggs have been Wistar supporters for more than a decade, and Mr. Briggs has served as a member of Wistar’s Board of Trustees for nine years. The Briggs are highly invested in the work of Wistar scientists and were interested in building a program that provided exceptional, early-career scientists with the autonomy and resources to take an accelerated path toward independence as principal investigators.

“We wanted to create something totally new and game-changing at Wistar by finding the best scientific talent and giving them all the tools and freedom they need to reach their potential — possibly more than they think they’re ready for — to attain that next level and succeed,” said Doug Briggs.


The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer, immunology, infectious diseases and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

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