Dr. C. Marcelo Aldaz
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis
The Virginia Harris Cockrell Cancer Research Center
My laboratory is located in Smithville, Texas, at UT Science Park
One of the major objectives of Dr. Aldaz's research program is to contribute information of relevance for a better understanding of early human breast carcinogenesis. A major goal of this research is to identify novel molecular tools of use in diagnosis and/or prognosis of human breast cancer (i.e., breast cancer biomarkers). To this end, his laboratory is engaged in comprehensive approaches using human breast cancer samples and breast carcinogenesis models. State-of-the-art deep sequencing approaches such as RNASeq, Exome Sequencing and MethylCap Seq are employed in Dr. Aldaz's research in order to identify driver mutations, epigenetic changes and gene expression alterations that affect the genome and transcriptome of breast cells leading to cancer development and progression.
Several years ago the Aldaz laboratory discovered a novel gene of much interest in breast and other cancers (WWOX). This gene spans the second most common chromosomal fragile site, FRA16D, and as a consequence is frequently affected by genomic abnormalities and rearrangements. A mouse conditional KO model has been developed that is allowing a better understanding of the role of WWOX in cancer. Interestingly, the WWOX gene appears to also be a target affected in individuals and families predisposed to dyslipidemias and metabolic syndrome-related conditions. Thus, genetically engineered mouse models are being used to understand the role of WWOX in these conditions as well.