Dr. Leomar Y. Ballester
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Our laboratory applies a multidisciplinary approach combining genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, histology, immunohistochemistry and functional assays to the study of primary (e.g., glioblastoma) and metastatic brain tumors (e.g., metastatic lung and breast cancer to the brain). Microbiome and ethnic related factors affecting tumor development, growth, and response to therapies, are also areas of current research. Students will have the opportunity to integrate information from multiple platforms to gain insights into the pathophysiology of various neoplastic brain lesions. The students will also have the opportunity to conduct translational research work with human samples (e.g., tissue, fluids, feces), as well as cell lines. Our laboratory is interested in developing novel approaches to detecting circulating tumor biomarkers such as circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), microRNAs (miRNA) and metabolites, and applying these biomarkers to the clinical diagnosis of primary and metastatic CNS tumors. Our ultimate goal is to translate our discoveries into clinically useful information to aid in the diagnosis and management of patients with brain tumors. Students in the laboratory will work under the guidance of Leomar Y. Ballester, MD,PhD (Molecular Neuropathologist) and Yoshua Esquenazi, MD (Neurosurgeon). Opportunities to be exposed to Next Generation Sequencing, RNAseq, qPCR, ddPCR, western blot, mass spectrometry, paraffin embedding of human tissue, microtome sectioning, H&E staining and interpretation, immunohistochemistry and mouse work, are available.