Kelly Moynihan, PhD

2012 Hertz Fellow
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Kelly Moynihan is a senior director and project team leader at Asher Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company developing precisely targeted immunotherapies for cancer and other diseases.

Kelly previously worked to build and launch new biotech companies as an associate at Third Rock Ventures, where she contributed to the company builds of Celsius Therapeutics, Abata Therapeutics, and Asher Biotherapeutics.

Kelly completed her PhD in biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017. In Darrell Irvine’s Immunobioengineering laboratory, she worked in immuno-oncology, with a focus on T cell vaccines and combination immunotherapies. She was originally motivated to pursue biomedical engineering when her father was diagnosed with advanced renal cell carcinoma when she was in high school, and she decided to commit her research efforts towards a promising new way to treat tumors: cancer immunotherapy.

Kelly graduated in May 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. As an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. George Georgious lab, Kelly worked on antibody repertoires following vaccination. She studied abroad at the University of Cambridge during the summer of 2010 and interned with Merck & Co., Inc., during the summer of 2011.

During graduate school, Kelly developed and taught a number of K-12 STEM classes for a Newton-based educational start-up called The Innovation Institute, which aims to foster creativity in students through challenging, inquiry based classes focusing on science and engineering. In addition, she co-developed and implemented a 3D printing summer camp for middle school students, which debuted in summer 2014, and she served on the board of The Innovation Institute until 2020.

Graduate Studies

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering Immunity: Enhancing T Cell Vaccines and Combination Immunotherapies for the Treatment of Cancer

Undergraduate Studies

University of Texas


2018, 40 Under 40 Honorees, Boston Business Journal

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Kelly Moynihan, Hertz Fellow 2012 at MIT, is seeking answers to the cancer conundrum through immunotherapy, engineering the body’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells in the same way it can eliminate common viruses. She's also committed to mentoring and inspiring the next generation of young scientists.