LIVE STREAMING: Matthews Endowed Lecture on Cancer Immunotherapy

Suzanne Topalian

UPDATE: Due to the recent restrictions and ongoing developments with the Corona virus, Dr. Topalian’s Matthews Lecture will not take place in the Trent Semans Center at 4 p.m. The lecture will be delivered today at 3:40 p.m. and will be available for viewing within Duke as a Livestream ONLY format.

Live Stream Link:

The lecture will also be recorded and made available for future viewing on the Duke intranet.

The post-lecture reception is canceled.


Suzanne L. Topalian, MD, associate director of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and director of the Melanoma Program in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, will deliver the tenth *Thomas J. Matthews Endowed Lecture on Wednesday, March 11, at 4 p.m., in the Trent Semans Center Great Hall. 

Topalian, who also holds the positions of Bloomberg-Kimmel Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy and professor of Surgery and Oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will speak on the “PD-1 Blockade in Cancer Therapy: Mechanism-Based Biomarkers and New Frontiers.”

Topalian’s research focuses on manipulating “immune checkpoints,” including PD-1 in cancer therapy, discovering biomarkers predicting response and resistance, and developing effective treatment combinations. She has received many awards for her landmark discoveries in the field, including the National Cancer Institute Rosalind E. Franklin Award (2018), the Taubman Prize (2016), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology Karnofsky Award (2015). In 2017, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Topalian received her medical and scientific training at Tufts University School of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and NCI, and joined the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2006 as the inaugural director of its Melanoma Program.

“Dr. Topalian’s studies of anti-tumor immunity have been foundational in developing cancer immunotherapy,” said Kent J. Weinhold, PhD, director of the Duke Center for AIDS Research and a Duke Cancer Institute member. “Her work established immunotherapy as a pillar of oncology and has opened new avenues of scientific investigation. We are honored to have her speak here at Duke.”

The Duke Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), Duke Surgery, and the Duke University School of Medicine are hosting the prestigious lecture, named for Thomas J. Matthews, PhD, a Duke researcher known for his cancer immunotherapy and HIV-1 antiviral discoveries.

Weinhold will deliver opening remarks and Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, executive director of Duke Cancer Institute, will introduce Topalian. Scott J. Antonia, MD, PhD, director of the DCI Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, will lead a discussion following the lecture. A reception will follow.

Download Lecture Flyer

Download Paper: Neoadjuvant checkpoint blockade for cancer immunotherapy. Science. Jan. 31, 2020. Suzanne L. Topalian, Janis M. Taube, Drew M. Pardoll


About Thomas James Matthews

Thomas Matthews

Thomas James Matthews, PhD, began his research career in 1977, working in the lab of Dani Bolognesi, PhD (Duke Department of Surgery) — investigating the use of MuLV antigens expressed on the surface of tumor cells as model tumor-associated antigens in the evaluation and development of novel cancer immunotherapy strategies. In 1984, Matthews turned his focus to HIV-1 and the search for potential vaccine targets. After discovering a peptide from gp41 (DP-178) that was extremely potent in blocking the process of viral entry, he and Bolognesi found a company (Trimeris) to explore the therapeutic potential of this new class of antiviral compounds. As senior vice president of Research & Development at Trimeris, Matthews’ efforts led to the licensure of Fuzeon in March 2003.

A consummate scientist driven by his thirst for discovery, creativity, and the challenges brought about by new insights, Matthews continued his active pursuit of improved entry inhibitors until his untimely death on December 20, 2004.

Born on April 4, 1945, in Denver, Colorado, Matthews grew up nearby in Evergreen. After high school, he left Evergreen to attend Colorado State University where he majored in chemistry. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Missouri where he received his PhD in Biochemistry in 1971. He did his post-doctoral training under Roland Rueckert, PhD, at Rueckert’s Picornavirus Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin.

Life itself was a continuing adventure for Matthews, whether it involved his research, his many hobbies, Duke basketball, or his beloved family and friends. Matthews colleagues, who established the Thomas James Matthews Endowed Lectureship in 2005 in his name, hope that the lectureship will serve as an inspiration to present and future generations of scientists.