The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of General Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine
My lab uses multiple approaches to study changes occurring during lung cancer formation and progression. We particularly are interested in interactions between tumor cells and inflammatory cells in the microenvironment and recapitulation of developmentally important pathways during carcinogenesis. We use both a multi-omics approach and bench-based science to model these processes in cell culture and mouse models, with the aim of validating findings in human samples.
One active project in my lab focuses on the role of the immunoproteasome in lung cancer progression. Immunoproteasomes are a subset of proteasomes containing 3 substituted beta-subunits that have enzymatic activity optimized for processing proteins into peptides suitable for presentation on an MHC class I molecule. We showed that there is heterogeneous expression of the immunoproteasome in lung cancer cell lines, and that this expression correlated with the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition status of these cell lines, with more mesenchymal cell lines showing lower immunoproteasome expression. A similar phenomenon was observed in lung tumor samples, and tumors with lower immunoproteasome showed a more aggressive phenotype. We are currently creating a mouse model to study this further.
Students in my lab will learn to design experiments incorporating a wide variety of approaches. They will not only learn standard biological techniques, but also how to design and assess experimental models. I will mentor them in basic bioinformatic techniques that are used to analyze datasets generated from -omic experiments. Additionally, I am focused on mentorship and career development, whether in academia or elsewhere.
Education & Training
Ph.D. - Baylor College of Medicine - 2005
M.D. - Baylor College of Medicine - 2006