Todd Aguilera, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He is a physician-scientist trained as a radiation oncologist, and has expertise in molecular engineering, molecular imaging, the tumor microenvironment, and tumor immunology. 

Dr. Aguilera attended graduate school at UC San Diego School of Medicine where his work focused on engineering and validating activatable peptide-based probes to target the tumor microenvironment. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. through UC San Diego’s Medical Scientist Training program. His doctorate work was done in the laboratory of Dr. Roger Y. Tsien, who received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Dr. Aguilera completed his residency in radiation oncology at Stanford University Medical Center. As a resident and postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, he worked with Dr. Amato Giaccia studying factors in the tumor microenvironment that promote immunologic tolerance, and developing therapeutic approaches to improve immunotherapy responses in solid tumors. His specific interests are intrinsic factors that prevent or suppress the anti-tumor immune response after radiation, and how these factors can be reversed. 

Dr. Aguilera was recruited to UT Southwestern’s Department of Radiation Oncology to establish his research group, which will continue to investigate the immune microenvironment and to engineer approaches to target cells and molecules that lead to immune privilege.

He also treats radiation oncology patients with gastrointestinal cancers, is developing laboratory projects in pancreatic cancer, and aims to establish collaborative projects with clinicians and researchers.

Dr. Aguilera was one of only three recipients of the ASTRO Resident Seed Grant in 2014; was honored as a Henry S. Kaplan Fellow, Stanford Radiation Oncology in 2016; and was successfully recruited to UT Southwestern in 2017 through the CPRIT First-Time Tenure Track Faculty recruitment award. 

He is currently a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Society for Immunotherapy for Cancer, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the Radiological Society of North America.

Dr. Aguilera has been published in multiple journals including Nature Communications, Science, Clinical Cancer ResearchNature Cell BiologyProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics.

Meet Dr. Aguilera

Treating gastrointestinal cancer patients with radiation therapy is the primary clinical focus for Todd Aguilera, M.D., Ph.D. His passion to care for patients going through this challenging and sometimes frightening time is demonstrated by how he takes the time to walk them through each step of treatment. 

Dr. Aguilera, a highly trained board-certified radiation oncologist and scientist, is an integral part of the gastrointestinal cancer care team at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He joined the team in 2017 after finishing his residency in radiation oncology and a clinical fellowship in gastrointestinal radiation oncology at Stanford University Medical Center.

“Overall, I am most proud of the relationships I have developed with patients, families, and colleagues. It is an incredible privilege to be invited into people’s lives the way we are in oncology,” Dr. Aguilera says. “Though the curative, palliative, and technical achievements should be praised, the lasting interpersonal interactions hold a unique place in our hearts and minds.”

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Aguilera is the site principal investigator for the multisite PANCRS randomized phase III trial, which is focused on evaluating the role of stereotactic ablative radiation therapy in locally advanced pancreatic cancer. His research lab is focused on studying immunosuppressive factors in the tumor microenvironment. “The numerous scientific opportunities in the field of radiation oncology that can impact clinical care – from the basic biology of cancer to medical physics – are deeply engaging,” says Dr. Aguilera.

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - Stanford University Medical Center (2016-2017), Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology
  • Residency - Stanford University Medical Center (2012-2016), Radiation Oncology
  • Internship - UC San Diego Medical Center (2011-2012), Internal Medicine
  • Medical School - UC San Diego School of Medicine (2007-2011)
  • Other Post Graduate Training - UC San Diego School of Medicine (2003-2007)
  • Graduate School - UC San Diego School of Medicine (2003-2007)
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (2015-2017)
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (2013-2017)
  • America Association for Cancer Research (2012-2017)
  • Radiological Society of North America (2011-2017)
  • American Society for Radiation Oncology (2011-2017)
Honors & Awards
  • Texas Super Doctors, Rising Star 2021
  • Texas Super Doctors, Rising Star 2020
  • Henry S. Kaplan Fellow 2016-2017, Stanford Department or Radiation Oncology
  • Malcom A. Bagshaw Symposium, Best Research Presentation 2015-2015
  • American Board of Radiology Holman Research Resident 2014-2016
  • ASTRO Resident Seed Grant 2014-2015
Books & Publications

Clinical Focus

  • Radiation Therapy for Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy for Gastrointestinal Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy for Colorectal Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy for Esophageal Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal Cancers
  • Radiation Therapy for Liver Cancer
  • Anal Cancer
  • Gallbladder/Bile Duct (Cholangiocarcinoma) Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy for Stomach Cancer

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