Dr. Houghton is a Full Member in the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an Associate Professor of Medicine within the Pulmonary Division at the University of Washington. Dr. Houghton trained in the laboratory of Steve Shapiro where he gained expertise in neutrophil biology and proteinase biology mostly pertaining pulmonary emphysema. Upon the realization that neutrophil lineage cells and their proteinases frequently infiltrate the tumor microenvironment, Dr. Houghton founded his program on the study of neutrophil lineage cells within lung cancers.
Currently, the Houghton Lab studies the immune cell composition and function in many solid tumor malignancies, though still most prominently in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The group has established a platform to combine the study of human tissue specimens and mouse models of cancer to address key questions ranging from mechanisms of immune escape and treatment failures to the identification of novel biomarkers for lung cancer early detection. This platform has revealed an essential role for myeloid lineage cells—particularly neutrophils—in excluding tumor-reactive lymphocytes from the malignant portion of tumors. The current focus of the lab is to determine the mechanistic basis of lymphocyte-excluded NSCLCs and to develop therapeutic strategies to circumvent their exclusion.