Faculty and Staff

Current Staff


Principal Investigator

Jonathan Kurie, M.D.

Dr. Kurie is a recipient of the Elza and Ina Shackelford-Freeman Endowed Professorship in Lung Cancer. He has expertise in the fields of cancer biology, mouse models of human cancer, tumor microenvironment, and clinical oncology. His lab has worked to move heavily into an area of study focused on microRNAs that control metastasis.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Kurie Lab - Yulong Chen, Ph.D.

Yulong Chen, Ph.D. 

Dr. Chen’s strong focus is to study the role of procollagen-lysine, 2-oxoglutarate 5-dioxygenase 2 (PLOD2) in lung cancer metastasis.




Kurie Lab - Daniela Pankova, Ph.D.

Daniela Pankova, Ph.D. 

Cancer associated fibroblasts are subpopulation of cells in tumour microenvironment, which have ability to promote cancer progression and transformation. Dr. Pankova's project is focused on investigation of the role of cancer associated fibroblasts in lung tumour microenvironment and their implication in tumour-promoting invasiveness, that is moreover associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition. She is also involved in study of ZEB1 and its regulation of collective-single cells mode of invasion in lung cancer cells.


Kurie Lab - Xiaochao Tan, Ph.D.

Xiaochao Tan, Ph.D. 

Dr. Tan's main work is to study the role of miR-148a in lung cancer metastasis. MiR-148a is a potential target of Zeb1 and functions as a suppressor of cancer metastasis. He is working on: 1)investigating the roles of miR-148a in vitro and in vivo. 2) figuring out if miR-148a is directly regulated by Zeb1. 3)identifying functional downstream targets of miR-148a.



Research Technicians

Kurie Lab - Xin Liu, M.S.

Xin Liu, M.S. 

Ms. Liu is Dr. Kurie’s lab manager. She manages and ensures the lab runs smoothly on a daily basis.






Kurie Lab - Nishan Thilaganthan

Nishan Thilaganathan, B.S. 

Mr. Thilaganathan is the Sr. Research Assistant in Dr. Kurie’s lab. His primary responsibility has been to manage the mouse colony, which usually has more than 1,000 animals, including approximately 70-80 breeding pairs, with 10-15 different alleles, and multiple genetic backgrounds. These mice are at different stages of tumorigenesis and treatment and require a close watch to make sure that they remain viable and have not encountered unexpected toxicities. All of the mice in this colony need to be genotyped, which requires extracting DNA from tail clips and performing PCR analysis to identify the mutant alleles, tagging the mouse’s ear to designate its genotype, and entering these findings into our common lab database.


The Kurie Lab family

The Kurie Lab Family 









Former Staff

Research Technicians and Graduate Students

  • Christin Ungewiss
  • Denise Juroske
  • Amy Hanna
  • Cristina A. Alvarez

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Don L. Gibbons, M.D. Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Erminia Marssarelli, M.D. Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Yanan Yang, Ph.D.
    Faculty, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Brandi N. Baird, Ph.D.
    Biopharmaceutical Sales Representative, Amgen Inc.
  • Dianren Xia, Ph.D.
    Instructor, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Sangeeta Goswami, M.D., Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Kentaro Iwanaga, M.D., Ph.D.
    Research Associate, Saga University, Japan
  • Harish Srinivas, Ph.D.
    Research Instructor, University of Pittsburgh
  • Nobukazu Fujimoto, M.D., Ph.D.
    Medical Doctor, Okayama Rosai Hospital, Japan
  • Marie Wislez, M.D., Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, Tenon Hospital, Paris, France
  • Shailaja Kalyankrishna, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh
  • Hua Wang, Ph.D.
    Research Scientist, Seqwright DNA Technology Services
  • Naoko Sueoka, M.D.
    Assistant Professor, Saga University, Japan
  • Ho-young Lee, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Young-ah Suh, Ph.D.
    Instructor, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Yeulhong Kim, M.D.
    Associate Professor, Korea University College of Medicine
  • Gil Rohan, M.D.
    Assistant Professor, Korea University College of Medicine
  • Annamaria Gal, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Austria
  • Tanvir Khatlani, Ph.D.
    Instructor, Northwestern School of Medicine, Illinois
  • Li Zhong, Ph.D.
    Investigator, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Shanghai, China
  • Jie Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.
    Clinical Studies Coordinator, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Kuicheon Choi, Ph.D.
    Investigator, UT Medical Branch Galveston
  • Yi Zang M.D., Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor, National Center for Drug Screening, Shanghai, China

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