Wilfredo Garcia-Beltran

Wilfredo Garcia-Beltran, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator

Core Member and Clinician-Scientist Fellow

Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard


Harvard School of Medicine


+1 (857) 268-7077

400 Technology Square, Room 960

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NK cell biology, immune/cellular therapy

Research Overview

The Garcia-Beltran Lab focuses on discovering dominant pathways of NK-cell recognition and killing of target cells – both cancerous and virally infected – for the development of NK cell-based immune and cellular therapies.

In our laboratory, we seek to identify the “innate checkpoints” that regulate the susceptibility and resistance of target cells to NK-cell killing using CRISPR/Cas9 screens. In addition, we employ rational design of NK-based cellular therapy against liquid and solid cancers for enhanced survival, homing, infiltration, and killing, which will be tested both in vitro and in humanized mouse models. Furthermore, we explore the mechanisms of NK-cell recognition of cells infected with viruses such as HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 and how these viruses evade the immune system.


Dr. Garcia-Beltran is originally from Puerto Rico, where he obtained a bachelor's in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras in 2010. He subsequently entered into a cross-institutional MD/PhD program where he received his PhD degree in Immunology from Harvard University and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2018. He pursued clinical specialty training in Clinical Pathology with sub-specialty training in Transfusion Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and carried out post-doctoral research in NK-cell biology and cellular therapies as well as immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccines. He is currently leading his own laboratory as a Clinician-Scientist Fellow at Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard.

Selected Publications

mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine boosters induce neutralizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant

Garcia-Beltran WF, St. Denis KJ, Hoelzemer A, Lam EC, Nitido AD, Sheehan ML, Berrios C, Onosereme O, Chang C, Hauser, BM, Feldman J, Gregory DJ, Poznansky MC, Schmidt AG, Iafrate AJ, Naranbhai V, Balazs AB

Cell. Jan 2022 PubMed

A genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9-based screen identifies heparan sulfate proteoglycans as ligands of killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors

Klein K, Hölzemer Angelique, Wang T, Kim TE, Dugan HL, Jost S, Alfteld M*, Garcia-Beltran WF*

Front Immunol. Nov 2021; 12:798235 PubMed

Innate immune reconstitution in humanized bone marrow-liver-thymus (HuBLT) mice governs adaptive cellular immune function and responses to HIV-1 infection

Garcia-Beltran WF*, Claiborne DT*, Maldini CR, Phelps MB, Vrbanac V, Karpel ME, Krupp KL, Power KA, Boutwell CL, Balazs AB, Tager AM, Altfeld M, Allen TM

Front Immunol. May 2021; 12: 667393 PubMed

Multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants escape neutralization by vaccine-induced humoral immunity

Garcia-Beltran WF*, Lam EC*, St. Denis K*, Nitido AD, Garcia ZH, Hauser BM, Feldman J, Pavlovic MN, Gregory DJ, Poznansky MC, Sigal A, Schmidt AG, Iafrate AJ, Naranbhai V, Balazs AB

Cell. Apr 2021; 184(9): 2372-2383 PubMed

COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies predict disease severity and survival

Garcia-Beltran WF*, Lam EC*, Astudillo MG*, Yang D*, Miller TE, Feldman J, Hauser BM, Caradonna TM, Clayton KL, Nitido AD, Murali MR, Alter G, Charles RC, Dighe A, Branda JA, Lennerz JK, Lingwood D, Schmidt AG, Iafrate AJ, Balazs AB

Cell. Jan 2021; 184(2): 476-488 PubMed

PRE-PRINT: Applying CRISPR-based genetic screens to identify drivers of tumor-cell sensitivity

Klein K, Wang T, Lander ES, Altfeld M, Garcia-Beltran WF

bioRxiv. Jan 2019 Read on Journal Site

Open conformers of HLA-F are high-affinity ligands of the activating NK-cell receptor KIR3DS1

Garcia-Beltran WF, Hölzemer A, Martrus G, Chung AW, Pacheco Y, Simoneau CR, Rucevic M, Lamothe-Molina PA, Pertel T, Kim TE, Dugan H, Alter G, Dechanet-Merville J, Jost S, Carrington M, Altfeld M

Nat Immunol. Sep 2016; 17(9): 1067-1074 PubMed

Lab Team

Raymond Quiñones Alvarado

Undergraduate Student

Jordan Hartmann

Graduate Student

Anson Hui

Graduate Student

Madison Leone

Undergraduate Student

Dianelis Lopez

Undergraduate Student

Marcella R. Cardoso, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Maria Cecilia Ramiro Talarico

Graduate Student

Tao Xu

Graduate Student

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Basic and Applied Immunology

Basic and applied immunology research seeks to answer fundamental questions in immunology and use the findings to drive forward medical research


The Ragon’s research creates knowledge from our collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach, breaking down the silos of academia.