Personal Statement

I am a gynecologic oncologist with a 65% FTE research appointment. I head a lab focused on tumor immunology and the development of novel treatment strategies for ovarian cancer. We recently demonstrated that PARP inhibition synergizes with CTLA4 immune checkpoint blockade in BRCA1 deficient ovarian cancer models.

This work additionally identified cell-intrinsic mechanisms of therapeutic synergy, confirmed the induction of protective immune memory, and defined novel immunologic endpoints correlating with treatment efficacy and long-term survival. Based on the success of this regimen in preclinical models, we launched an investigator-initiated clinical trial in 2016: INST1419: A phase I/II study of the combination of olaparib and tremelimumab in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers with recurrent ovarian cancer, (NCT02571725, S. Adams, Principal Investigator) with a target enrollment of 50 subjects.

With early results demonstrating substantial responses among heavily pre-treated patients, this trial was selected for expansion to three additional NCI Cancer Centers as the first clinical trial opened through the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN). In addition, these results provided a foundation for a second, expanded trial through NRG to test whether this combination is active in a larger cohort of patients and to isolate the contribution of the immune agent. NRG-GY021: A randomized phase II trial of olaparib + tremelimumab vs. olaparib in platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer (NCT04034927, National Study Chair: S. Adams) opened in October 2019 with a target enrollment of 170 patients.

This study is one of the first NRG studies selected by CIMAC (Cancer Immune Monitoring Analysis Centers – one of the Cancer Moonshot initiatives) to perform concurrent comprehensive integrated translational analyses. The translation of our work to clinical testing has spurred ongoing mechanistic studies in the lab focused on understanding tumor-tumor microenvironment interactions that modulate the efficacy of tumor-directed agents.

With this experience translating work from the lab to national clinical trials, I was appointed to be the Associate Director for Translational Science at the UNM Cancer Center. In this role I have launched a Translational Science Initiative to build the infrastructure required for the successful development of investigator initiated trials based on Center science. This Initiative includes the developing Translational Science Shared Resource, comprised of a Correlative Science Lab and a Protocol Development Team to provide expert assistance to clinician scientists and support for collaborations leading to early phase clinical trials.


Fellowship: University of Pennsylvania Hospitals (2009), Specialty in Gynecologic Oncology
Residency: University of Chicago Hospitals (2005), Specialty in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Internship: University of Chicago Hospitals (2005), Specialty in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Medical School: University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (2001)

Achievements & Awards

Board Certification: Gynecologic Oncology (2014), Obstetrics and Gynecology (2009)
The Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Professor in Ovarian Cancer Research

Research and Scholarship

Visit the Adams Lab