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Natividad Roberto Fuentes, Jr.

Natividad Roberto Fuentes, Jr.

Regular Member

Assistant Professor

South Campus Research Building 3 - SCR5.3632

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center at Houston
Department of Cancer Biology

Proteins are often credited as the macromolecule responsible for performing critical cellular functions, however lipids have recently garnered more attention as our understanding of their role in cell function and human health becomes more apparent. Lipids serve important functions as signaling molecules, energy substrates and an often-underappreciated role as membrane structural components. Importantly, membrane spatial dynamics (i.e., biochemical and biophysical characteristics) influence cellular signaling and are altered by disease, such as cancer or extrinsic factors including diet and environmental factors.

The Fuentes Lab combines dietary intervention strategies, lipid biochemistry, advanced fluorescent microscopy, membrane biophysics and lipidomic techniques to characterize how nanoscale changes to lipids and proteins on cancer cell and tumor microenvironment (TME) cell-cell contact sites influences immunosuppression and other disease processes. Our goal is to unravel the cellular and molecular basis of membrane based therapeutic resistance mechanisms in cancer in order to lay the groundwork for development of novel preventive and/or therapeutic strategies that target membrane organization.

Potential Rotation Projects:

Identify the molecular mechanism mediating cancer associated fibroblast driven alterations in TME biophysical properties.

Determine the functional consequence of altering the biophysical properties of macrophage PMs.

Develop a novel plasma membrane targeted therapeutic approach that improves immunotherapy response.

Screen for novel intrinsic (genetic) and extrinsic (environmental) modifiers of membrane structure/function.


Education & Training

PhD, Texas A&M University