Megan Burger, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the department of Cell, Developmental, and Cancer Biology, with a secondary appointment in Hematology and Oncology. Dr. Burger completed her Ph.D. training in T cell immunology with Dr. Astar Winoto at UC Berkeley and a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer immunology with Dr. Tyler Jacks at MIT.
Dr. Burger’s research program is broadly focused on investigating factors that regulate T cell immunity against cancer. The lab utilizes genetically engineered mouse models of lung cancer to study tumor-immune interactions as tumors develop from single transformed cells in native lung tissue, through histological stages reminiscent of the human disease. Employing novel genetic tools and single-cell analysis approaches, including flow cytometry, single-cell RNA-sequencing and multiplexed imaging, the lab seeks to gain a deep understanding of mechanisms regulating T cell function in tumors that can be translated to the development of improved cancer immunotherapies. Of major interest is the role of antigen immunodominance in limiting the breadth and functionality of T cell responses in tumors and how antigen hierarchies can be remodeled therapeutically to improve tumor control.
Education and training
- B.S., 2006, University of Washington
- Ph.D., 2014, University of California Berkeley
- Postdoctoral Fellowship at MIT with Dr. Tyler Jacks, 2015-2022
Memberships and associations:
- American Association for Cancer Research
- Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer
Areas of interest
- T cell biology, lung cancer, cancer immunotherapies, antigen immunodominance, tumor microenvironment, preclinical mouse modeling
Honors and awards
- Margaret A. Cunningham Immune Mechanisms of Cancer Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2020-2021
- Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology at MIT Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2020-2021
- Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2016-2019
- Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship, NIH NCI F31, 2013-2014
- UC Cancer Coordinating Committee Predoctoral Fellowship, 2010-2011
- Gaglia, G.*, Burger, M.L.*, Ritch, C.C., Rammos, D., Yang, D., Crossland, G.E., Tavana, S.Z., Warchol, S., Jaeger, A.M., Coy, S., Johnson, A., Krueger, R., Lin, J.R., Pfister, H., Sorger, P., Jacks, T., Santagata, S. Lymphocyte networks are dynamic cellular communities in the immunoregulatory landscape of lung adenocarcinoma. Preprint doi: 10.1101/2022.08.11.503237 (2022)
- Warchol, S., Krueger, R., Nirmal, A.J., Gaglia, G., Jessup, J., Ritch, C.C., Hoffer, J., Muhlich, J., Burger, M.L., Jacks, T., Santagata, S., Sorger, P.K., Pfister, H. Visinity: Visual Spatial Neighborhood Analysis for Multiplexed Tissue Imaging Data. Preprint. doi: 10.1101/2022.05.09.490039 (2022).
- Patel, R., Romero, R., Liang, A., Watson, E., Burger, M.L., Westcott, P.M.K., Mercer, K., Bronson, R., Wooten, E., Bhutkar, A., Jacks, T., Elledge, S. A GATA4-regulated secretory program suppresses tumors through recruitment of cytotoxic CD8 T cells. Nat Communications 13(1):256. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27731-5 (2022).
- Hamza, B., Miller, A.B., Meier, L., Stockslager, M., Ng, S.R., King, E.M., DeGouveia, K.L., Mulugeta, N., Calistri, N.L., Strouf, H., Lin, L., Chin, C.R., Bray, C., Rodriguez, F., Freed-Pastor, W.A., Jaramillo, G.C., Burger, M.L., Weinberg, R.A., Shalek, A.K., Jacks, T., Manalis, S. Measuring kinetics and metastatic propensity of CTCs by blood exchange between mice. Nat Communications 12(1):5680 (2021).
- Burger, M.L., Cruz, A.M., Crossland, G.E., Gaglia, G., Ritch, C.C., Blatt, S.E., Bhutkar, A., Canner, D., Kienka, T., Tavana, S., Garmilla, A., Schenkel, J.M., Hillman, M., de los Rios Kobara, I., Li, A., Hwang, W.L., Westcott, P.M.K., Regev, A., Santagata, S., Jacks, T. Antigen dominance hierarchies shape TCF1+ CD8 T cell phenotypes in tumors. Cell 184(19):4996-5014. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2021.08.020 (2021).
- Schenkel, J.M., Herbst, R.H., Canner, D.A., Li, A., Hillman, M., Shanahan, S., Gibbons, G., Smith, O.C., Kim, J.Y., Westcott, P., Hwang, W., Freed-Pastor, W., Eng, G., Cucco, M.S., Rogers, P., Park, J.K., Burger, M.L., et. al. Conventional type I dendritic cells maintain a reservoir of proliferative tumor-antigen specific TCF-1+ CD8+ T cells in tumor draining lymph nodes. Immunity 54(10):2338-2353.e6 (2021).
- Burger, M.L., Leung, K.K., Bennett, M.J., Winoto, A. T cell-specific inhibition of multiple apoptotic pathways blocks negative selection and causes autoimmunity. eLIFE 3:e03468. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03468 (2014).
- Burger, M.L.*, Xue, L.*, Sun, Y., Kang, C., Winoto, A. Premalignant PTEN-deficient thymocytes activate miR-146a and miR-146b as a cellular defense against malignant transformation. Blood 123(26):4089-4100. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-11-539411 (2014).
- Thompson, J., Burger, M.L., Whang, H., Winoto, A. Protein kinase C regulates mitochondrial targeting of Nur77 and its family member Nor-1 in thymocytes undergoing apoptosis. Eur J Immunol 40(7):2041-2049. doi: 10.1002/eji.200940231 (2010).
- Yamaguchi, I., Tchao, B.N., Burger, M.L., Yamada, M., Hyodo, T., Giampietro, C., Eddy, A.A. Vascular endothelial cadherin modulates renal interstitial fibrosis. Nephron Exp Nephrol 120(1):e20-31. doi: 10.1159/000332026 (2010).