The study of biostatistics, bioinformatics and systems biology will focus on developing and applying statistical and mathematical models in close collaboration with biomedical researchers. The mission of the Program in Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology is to train researchers who will contribute to biomedical research by developing new methods for the design and analysis of research studies and by formulating mathematical models of biologic systems, thereby contributing to our understanding of cancer biology and disease processes.
Anthony San Lucas - Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Program
Some people feel called to live life to a high standard, but none higher than Anthony San Lucas. His three daughters tell people that their daddy helps cure sick people. The mark they set remains the motivation behind his work.
To reach that lofty goal, he’ll need the skills acquired at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston (GSBS).
Biostatistics, bioinformatics and systems biology are the three tracks students can choose from following two years of core courses. Anthony’s focus is on computational biology and bioinformatics.
Surrounded by clinical and biological researchers from other disciplines, this group of quantitative pupils gets unique opportunities not afforded to others.
“Our program is very different from the other programs in this way,” he says. “Not only are we working to develop our own research projects, but the skills we learn enable us to make significant contributions to almost any other research project, allowing for many interesting collaborations.”
He already had a varied background upon entering the program, with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in computer science and positions in the oil and gas and finance industries. But it was his desire to make medicine appear less of an art and more data-driven that brought him to this field of study.
Anthony attributes his success at GSBS to his advisor, Paul Scheet, Ph.D.
“He shares all of his experiences that he thinks might make us better,” says Anthony. “He teaches us how to write grants, papers, and about statistical intuition.”
On a personal level, their lives parallel, balancing marriage, children (both are expecting new additions to the family soon) and their career. “He isn’t just my advisor and mentor, he’s my friend.”
Anthony’s next step is a post-doctoral fellowship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in the Translational Molecular Pathology department. There, he’ll assist with research aimed at detecting pancreatic cancer – one of the deadliest cancers – during routine blood draws, or liquid biopsies.
“We have to detect these cancers earlier on to have a shot at curing these patients,” says Anthony.
Once perfected, the technology with which Anthony is involved has the potential to cure many sick people and will make him a hero to more than just his three adoring daughters.