Dr. Wendy A. Woodward M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Woodward graduated from Mount Holyoke College, S. Hadley, MA, in 1993. In 2000, she received her M.D. as well as her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Thomas Jefferson University/Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA. She did her internship in medicine at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA followed by radiation oncology residency at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center which she completed in 2005. During that time she did a one year fellowship on breast cancer stem cells in the laboratory of Dr. Jeff Rosen at Baylor College of Medicine. She then joined the faculty at MD Anderson Cancer Center and is currently a board certified Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology on the breast cancer service and Deputy Director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program.
Bisrat G. Debeb, DVM, Ph.D.
Bisrat Debeb received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree with high honors from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia in 1999. He completed his PhD at Texas A&M University, where he devoted his thesis work to characterizing Oct4-expressing extraembryonic endoderm stem cells. He joined Dr. Woodward’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2008 and was appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of Radiation Oncology in 2011. Dr. Debeb’s long-term career goal is to develop novel therapeutic strategies to target therapy resistant breast cancer stem cells. His current projects include 1) investigating the microRNA profiling of inflammatory breast cancer and radiation resistant breast cancer stem cells, and 2) exploring HDAC-inhibitor mediated cancer cell dedifferentiation/plasticity in tumor progression and metastasis and in metabolic reprogramming of breast cancer cells.
Wei Xu, Ph.D.
Wei Xu completed his undergraduate degree at Fudan University (Shanghai, China) in 1992 and received his Ph.D. Degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2007 from University of Arizona. During his Ph.D. studies, he investigated the signal transduction pathways of FP receptor, the receptor for PGF2α.. Wei joined Dr. Woodward’s lab in 2007. He is working on the identification of compounds specifically targeting breast cancer stem cells by inhibition of WNT signaling.
Lara C. Alvarez de Lacerda, PharmD, Ph.D.
Lara Lacerda completed her PharmD degree at the University of Coimbra (Coimbra, Portugal) in 2003 and received her Ph.D. in Pharmacy - Nanotechnology in 2008 from the University of London. She was awarded a Ph.D. studentship from the Portuguese Ministry of Science and Technology and during her Ph.D. research, Lara focused on the development of functionalised carbon nanotubes for biomedical applications, such as drug and gene delivery, under the supervision of Professor K. Kostarelos. Lara joined Dr. Woodward's Lab in April 2010 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research project focuses on the role of the tumor microenvironment in regulating the equilibrium among breast cancer stem cells, progenitors, and differentiated cells.
Rachel Atkinson, Ph.D.
Rachel Atkinson recently completed her PhD (2010) at Baylor College of Medicine in the Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine program under the breast cancer stem cell leaders Jeff Rosen, PhD and Jenny Chang, MD. Rachel’s unique program trained and prepared her for translational research focusing on aspects of both clinical and basic science research. Rachel’s PhD project was very successful in taking a clinically relevant project, developed in the laboratory, to the beginning steps of a clinical trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center, treating breast cancer chest wall recurrence and local disease treatment resistance. Rachel started her postdoctoral fellowship in clinical cancer prevention in February 2011 with mentors, Dr. Abenaa M Brewster and Dr. Wendy A Woodward. Her project involves investigating the normal breast tissue of women to determine markers that would identify women without breast cancer who are at risk.
Jessica Li was born in China, and received her Bachelor’s degree in 1988. Her current research focuses on the radiation resistance in cancer stem cells. She has been in the Woodward lab since 2006.
Richard Larson is a native Houstonian. He received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Houston in 2005. Following his Bachelor’s degree he then obtained his Master’s Degree in Zoology University of Texas Tech in August of 2010. He has been working with the Woodward lab since June 2010.
Dan Smith received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Notre Dame (IN) in 2010, where he studied Physics-in-Medicine. He is currently affiliated with the medical physics and cancer biology doctoral programs in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at MD Anderson Cancer Center. His research interests include tracking cancer stem cells in vivo using both optical and radiotracer methods, and further exploring cancer stem cell radiobiology.
Adam Wolfe received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Texas Tech University, graduating magna cum laude in Cell and Molecular Biology. He has completed 3 years of medical school and is currently studying in the MD/PhD program at UT Houston Medical School and UT Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at MD Anderson. His research interests include discovering new treatment options for inflammatory breast cancer such as adding statins to radiation therapy. He plans to pursue a medical residency in Radiation Oncology.