Alena received her Ph.D. from the University of Barcelona, Spain. Following that, Alena joined Dr. Steven Rosenberg’s group at the National Institutes of Health, NCI, where she stayed for 7 years. Her work at the NCI led to the identification of biomarkers that can guide the detection and isolation of tumor-reactive and mutation-specific T cells from the tumor and peripheral blood of cancer patients. These findings may have important implications for making T-cell based immunotherapies more widely available. Alena joined the Cancer Immunotherapy program at VHIO in October 2016. At VHIO she is planning to study whether the presence or specific T-cell qualities of mutation-specific lymphocytes influence antitumor T-cell responses and clinical outcome in patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. In addition, she will also develop personalized T-cell based cancer immunotherapies for patients with solid cancers.