Moonwalk Team

Rigel Kishton, PhD

Head of Immunology Research

Rigel joined Moonwalk from Synthego Corporation, where he headed an accelerator program designed to partner with commercial, government and academic institutions to generate cell and gene therapy editing strategies, safety data and clinical process datasets to enable clinical trials. Prior to Synthego, Rigel was a Senior Director of Research at Lyell Immunopharma, where he was a co-research lead on LYL845, Lyell’s epigenetically reprogrammed tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) program.

Rigel was a Cancer Research Training Fellow at the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he worked under Dr. Nicholas Restifo and Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg. At the NCI, Dr. Kishton studied mechanisms of acute tumor resistance to immunotherapy, along with factors influencing the quality and potency of cellular therapy products used for the treatment of cancer. He received his Ph.D. from Duke University after studying Immunology and Molecular Cancer Biology in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Rathmell, where he focused on the role and regulation of metabolism in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) disease maintenance and progression. Dr. Kishton also worked extensively on elucidating the roles of metabolic pathways in CD4+ helper T cells, work which led to the finding that the lineage-defining transcription factor FoxP3 regulates glucose metabolism to enable Treg suppressive function.