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Research in G&E labs is broadly focused on the fundamental genetic, epigenetic, and genomic mechanisms that control cell growth and differentiation, and that cause cancer and other human diseases.

The Genetics and Epigenetics Program (G&E) was established in 2017. Many of its faculty and students were formerly in three different GSBS programs, which were phased-out in 2017: Epigenetics & Molecular Carcinogenesis (EMC), Genes & Development (G&D), and Human Molecular Genetics (HMG). In 2017, the students in these three programs elected to be “unofficially affiliated” with the G&E program and are therefore listed here. 

2021 Graduates

Amelie Albrecht, PhD (Advisor: Xuetong Shen, PhD) - EMC
PhD Thesis: “The functional analysis of a major tyrosine phosphorylation site on actin”
Position after graduation: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lab of Fan Liu, PhD,Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP), Berlin, Germany

Erin Atkinson, PhD (Advisor: Bin Wang, PhD) - G&E
PhD Thesis: “NPSD4: A new player in the DNA damage response”
Position after graduation: Genetic Counseling Program student, MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX

Ruth Barros De Paula, MS (Advisor: John Tainer, PhD) - G&E
MS Thesis: “Unveiling global roles of G-quadruplexes and G4-22 in human genetics”
Position after graduation: PhD Student, Baylor College of Medicine PhD Program, Houston, TX

Alexandria Blackburn, PhD (Advisor: Rachel Miller, PhD) - G&E
PhD Thesis: “A novel role for DYRK1A in kidney development
Position after graduation: Clinical Research Program Coordinator, Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, MD Anderson, Houston, TX

Jianji Chen, PhD (Advisor: Mark Bedford, PhD) - EMC
PhD Thesis: Discovery of novel ubiquitin- and methylation-dependent interactions using protein domain microarrays
Position after graduation: Sr. Biomarker Discovery Scientist, IDEXX, Westbrook, ME

Ahmed Emam, MS (Advisor: Bin Wang, PhD) - G&E
MS Thesis: “Investigating the role of Abro1 in DNA damage-induced immune response”
Position after graduation: PhD Student, MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX

I-Lin Ho, PhD (Advisors: Giulio Draetta, MD,PhD and Andrea Viale, MD) - G&D
PhD Thesis: “Epithelial memory of resolved inflammation limits tissue damage while promoting pancreatic tumorigenesis”
Position after graduation: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lab of Andrea Viale, MD, MD Anderson, Houston, TX

Zian Liao, MS (Advisor: Wenbo Li, PhD) - G&E
MS Thesis: Manipulating enhancer RNA activity to study their roles in gene regulation and cancer”
Position after graduation: PhD Student, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Lorena Maili, PhD (Advisor: Jacqueline Hecht, PhD) - HMG
PhD Thesis: “Genetic pathway analysis of abnormal facial development in nonsyndromic cleft lip and palate”
Position after graduation: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lab of Jacqueline Hecht, PhD, McGovern Medical School, Uthealth, Houston, TX

Shucheng (Anna) Miao, MS (Advisors: Michelle Barton, PhD and Gigi Lozano, PhD) - G&E
MS Thesis: “TRIM24 promotes mammary tumor development by upregulating metabolic reducing power”
Position after graduation: PhD Student, MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX

Odemaris Narváez del Pilar, PhD (Advisor: Jichao Chen, PhD)- G&E
PhD Thesis: “Regulation of lung mesenchymal cells by epithelial Wnt ligands”
Position after graduation: Current Position: Completing medical school in Puerto Rico

Phuoc Nyguen, MS (Advisor: Wenbo Li, PhD) - G&E
MS Thesis: TBA
Position after graduation: PhD Student, MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX

Melinda Soeung, PhD (Advisors: Giulio Draetta, MD,PhD and Giannicola Genovese, MD,PhD) - G&D
PhD Thesis: “Understanding the pathogenesis of renal medullary carcinoma”
Position after graduation: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lab of Giulio Draetta, MD,PhD, MD Anderson, Houston, TX

  • 2020 Graduates

    Alem Belachew, PhD (Advisor: Michelle Hildebrandt, PhD) - G&E
    PhD Thesis:“Understanding the genetic and clinical determinants of racial/ethnic differences in multiple myeloma (MM) susceptibility and outcomes with a focus on Hispanics”
    Position after graduation: Director of Client Engagement, saleSEER, Inc., Houston, TX

    Vanja Krneta-Stankic, PhD (Advisor: Rachel Miller, PhD) - G&D
    PhD Thesis: 
    “The role of the Wnt/PCP Formin Daam1 in kidney development”
    Position after graduation: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lab of Jichao Chen, PhD, MD Anderson, Houston, TX

    Danielle Little, PhD (Advisor: Jichao Chen, PhD) - G&D
    PhD Thesis: 
    “The lung lineage transcription factor NKX2-1 regulates opposing cell fates in vivo”
    Position after graduation: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lab of Michael Dyer, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

    Sara Martin, PhD (Advisor: Richard Wood, PhD) - EMC
    PhD Thesis: 
    “A disruption of DNA polymerase ζ promotes an innate immune response”
    Position after graduation: Postdoctoral fellow, Lab of Mitch McVey, PhD, Tufts University, Boston, MA

    Sydney Moyer, PhD (Advisor: Guillermina Lozano, PhD) - G&D
    PhD Thesis: 
    “p53 drives a transcriptional program that elicits a non-cell-autonomous response and alters cell state in vivo
    Position after graduation: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lab of William Hahn, MD,PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

    Johnathon Rose, PhD (Advisor: Giulio Draetta, MD, PhD) - G&D
    PhD Thesis: 
    “A context-forward in vivo functional genomics platform for target discovery and establishing vulnerability-context in pancreatic cancer”
    Position after graduation: Postdoctoral Fellow, IACS (Traction Group), MD Anderson, Houston, TX

    Chieh-Yuan (Alex) Li, PhD (Giulio Draetta, MD,PhD) - G&D
    PhD Thesis:
    "Longitudinal clonal lineage dynamics and functional characterization of chemoresistance and metastasization in pancreatic cancer"
    LinkedIn page

    Jintan Liu, PhD (Giulio Draetta MD,PhD - G&D
    PhD Thesis: "Pooled functional genomics screening with multiplexed Cpf1 library"
    LinkedIn page

    Amber Thomas-Gordon, MS (Jan Parker-Thornburg, PhD - G&E
    PhD Thesis: "Artificial intron technology to generate conditional knock-out mice"
    LinkedIn page

  • 2019 Graduates

    Scott Casey, MS (Ellen Richie, PhD) - EMC
    MS Thesis: "Determination of thymic epithelial composition and proliferation during the perinatal to adult transition"
    LinkedIn page

    Kevin Farquhar, PhD (Gabor Balazsi, PhD) - G&D
    PhD Thesis: "The role of gene expression noise in mammalian cell survival"
    LinkedIn Page

    Aimee Farria, PhD (Sharon Dent, PhD) - EMC
    PhD Thesis: "GCN5 loss impacts MYC-driven cancer in mice and human cells"
    LInkedin Page

    Rhea Kang, PhD (Francesca Cole, PhD) - EMC
    PhD Thesis: "Higher order chromosome organization and recombination dynamics of meiotic prophase I in mouse spermatocytes"
    Linked Page

    Roxsan Manshouri, PhD ( Don Gibbons, MD,Ph) - G&D
    PhD Thesis: "Uncovering the ZEB1 interactome to identify novel regulators of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer"
    Linked Page

    Kenneth Trimmer, PhD (Swathi Arur, PhD) - G&D
    PhD Thesis: "Plasticity of C. elegans germline stem cells under nutritional and metabolic stress"
    Current Position: Postdoctoral fellow, lab of Swathi Arur, PhD, MD Anderson

    Sarah Wu, MD, PhD (Elsa Flores, PhD) - G&D
    PhD Thesis: "Investigating the role of the p63 isoform DeltaNP63 in lung stem cell populations and lung cancer"
    LinkedIn page

    Ruoji Zhou, PhD (DDung-Fan Lee, PhD) - HMG
    PhD Thesis: "Modeling cancer using Li-Fraumeni syndrome patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells"
    LinkedIn page

  • 2018 Graduates
    2018 Graduates (additional info coming)

    Neeraj Aryal, PhD (Dr. Guillermina Lozano, G&D)
    Ngoc Bui, PhD (Dr. Elsa Flores, G&D)
    Anna Casasent, PhD (Dr. Nicholas Navin, G&D)
    Kyle Chang, PhD (Dr. Eduardo Vilar Sanchez, HMG)
    Hsueh-Ping (Eva) Chao, PhD (Dr. Dean Tang, EMC)
    Gita Dangol, PhD
     (Dr. Anirban Maitra, HMG)
    Andrew Davis, PhD (Dr. Elsa Flores, G&D)
    Aundrietta Duncan, PhD (Dr. Michelle Barton, G&D)
    Sitaram Gayatri, PhD (Dr. Mark Bedford, EMC)
    Charissa Kim, PhD (Dr. Nicholas Navin, G&D)
    Uyen "Mimi" Le, PhD (Dr. Ann Killary, HMG)
    Jeanne Pierzynski, PhD
     (Dr. Xifeng Wu, HMG)
    Esmeralda Ramirez-Peña, PhD (Dr. Sendurai Mani, G&D)
    Justin Shaw, MS (Dr. Margarida Albuquerque Almeida Santos, G&D)
    Alejandro Villar-Prados, MD,PhD (Dr. Anil Sood, G&D)
    Jaime Nicolas Veland, PhD (Dr. Taiping Chen, EMC)
    Erin Williams, PhD (Dr. Andrew Gladden, G&D)
    Justin Wong, PhD (Dr. Ralf Krahe, HMG)
    Yongming Xue, PhD (Dr. Xiaobing Shi, G&D)
    Ping Zhou, PhD (Dr. Dianna Milewicz, HMG)

  • 2017 Graduates
    2017 Graduates (additional info coming)

    Nancy Azizian, PhD (Dr. Craig Logsdon; G&D)
    Pushan Dasgupta, MD,PhD (Dr. Giulio Draetta; G&D)
    Connie Larsson, PhD (Dr. Guillermina Lozano; G&D)
    Guadalupe “Javier” Ortiz, PhD (Dr. Guillermina Lozano; G&D)
    Jeanne Pierzynski, PhD (Dr. Xifeng Wu; HMG)
    Li Wang, PhD (Dr. Sharon Dent; EMC)