The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Translational Molecular Pathology
Mouse models have provided a wealth of translational information for cancer, and a challenge is to identify the most relevant targets to move forward into the clinic. In our laboratory, we generate and utilize mouse models of melanoma and cholangiocarcinoma and apply deep bioinformatics, coupled with patient sample analysis to identify novel combination drug therapies. Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer and although new targeted and immune therapies have made drastic clinical inroads, the majority of patients still do not have access to potent and durable treatment options. Our previous studies identified a novel drug combination, MEK plus CDK4/6 inhibitors for NRAS-mutant melanoma – now in clinical trials – and is emblematic of our approach utilizing bioinformatics and mouse models to identify and validate rational combination therapies. We are currently applying the same paradigm to melanoma immunotherapy and drug resistance. Cholangiocarcinoma is a highly lethal cancer of the bile ducts with few treatment options. Our laboratory has recently led an international effort to molecularly characterize cholangiocarcinoma as part of the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. We are applying the genomic information learned to improve the design of mouse models, including the use of CRISPR. The goal is take a cross-platform genetic and epigenetic approach to identifying novel drug susceptibilities for this cancer.
A student joining the lab would learn mousework, bioinformatics, western blots, flow cytometry, cell culture, immunohistochemistry, and CRISPR among other skills, and would join a wide collaboration network across MD Anderson and other institutions.
Education & Training
Ph.D. - University of Wisconsin-Madison - 2006