Chen (Junjie) Laboratory
The Chen Laboratory investigates the roles of tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes in DNA repair and other signaling pathways involved in tumor initiation, progression and metastasis.
Dr. Colbert is a Radiation Oncologist who specializes in the treatment of gynecologic cancers, including cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancers, and also in the palliative treatment of other cancers that have spread to the bone in our Rapid Access Bone Metastasis Clinic. Similarly, her clinical research focuses on both new approaches to treatment of cervical cancers and clinical workflows that can improve patients’ experiences with palliative radiation and decrease resource utilization, so needed radiotherapy can be delivered in low resource settings. She also has a translational research laboratory that focuses on understanding why and how human papillomavirus (HPV) related cancers (such as cervical, anal and oropharyngeal cancers) respond to radiation. The goal of this research is to improve survival and decrease side effects from these cancers through finding markers in the tumor or blood.
Our research focuses on the roles of energy metabolism and nutrient sensing in cancer. We study how normal cells and cancer cells sense energy and nutrient availability and how cancer cells adapt to survive and grow under metabolic stress. Our work aims to translate our understanding of cancer metabolism into novel effective cancer therapeutics.
Keyomarsi & Hunt Laboratory
The KeyHunt Laboratory is directed by Dr. Khandan Keyomarsi and Dr. Kelly K. Hunt. The lab is focused on clinical and translational cancer research in solid tumors, primarily in breast cancers and sarcomas. Our laboratory has developed a research program for identifying novel therapeutic strategies and prognostic markers based on alterations in G1/S and G2/M checkpoints in tumor cells focusing on solid tumors such as breast, sarcoma, pancreatic and lung cancers.
The overarching goal of the Ma Laboratory is to advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of tumor progression and metastasis, and to advance anti-metastatic therapy through ground-breaking research in RNA biology and tumor cell signaling.
Our aim is to define upfront polytherapy approaches based upon deep systematic interrogation of the aberrant molecular pathways operating in lung and pancreatic cancer to combat or eliminate targeted and immunotherapy resistance and transform the two most deadly human cancers from lethal disease into a curable condition.
Our approach is to (1) develop novel promising immunotherapy approaches using T lymphocytes engineered with Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CAR T cells) to act as a "living drug" to kill cancer cells, (2) utilize our recently published method for in vivo CRISPR-mediated somatic-engineering to generate a pharmacogenomic map that will guide patient treatment and (3) identify novel and “orphan” enzymes substrates important in driving cancer progression and drug resistance.
Our vision is to build a comprehensive disease modeling platform to study novel signaling networks and generate innovative therapeutics using animal models that frightfully represent human disease and to decipher mechanisms of cancer progression and drug resistance. Join Our Team
Our research is directed towards fertility preservation in boys and young men undergoing cancer therapy. Using rodent and non-human primate model systems we are testing hormonal and retinoid treatments for modifying the sensitivity and recovery potential of spermatogonial stem cells. We are also investigating transplantation and grafting of cryopreserved spermatogonial stem cells or testis tissue grafting of cryopreserved material containing stem spermatogonia for the restoration of sperm production. In addition we are also assessing the levels of genetic mutations in human sperm obtained during and after cancer therapy in order to evaluate genetic risks to offspring from pregnancies that might result.
The goal of our research program is to understand how tissue stem cells and self-renewing tumor cells contribute to tissue regeneration and tumorigenesis. Our comprehensive research approaches include genetically engineered mouse models, organoids, cell biology and molecular biology.
Piwnica-Worms (Helen) Laboratory
The Piwnica-Worms Laboratory identifies alterations with functional significance to the development and progression of invasive triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and examines how fasting and different diets protect small intestinal stem cells from lethal levels of DNA damage induced by chemotherapy or ionizing radiation.
Sawakuchi & Shaitelman Laboratory
We are a medical physics laboratory composed of a multidisciplinary team of clinical and research physicists, radiation biologists and biologists. We work at the interface of physics and radiation biology with the goal of translating biophysics discoveries to clinical practice.
Cullen Taniugchi, M.D., Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the radiation oncology department at MD Anderson Cancer Center, specializing in pancreatic, rectal, and anal cancers. His translational laboratory studies how to protect normal tissues from chemotherapy and radiation damage. The basic studies in his lab focus on hypoxia (low oxygen) biology and how it alters the response of normal tissues and the tumor microenvironment to chemotherapy and radiation.
Among his research interests is the role of EGLN inhibitors in radioprotection, the interplay of mitochondrial dynamics and their effect on pancreatic cancer, as well as the role of the microbiome in the pancreatic and anal cancer. Dr. Taniguchi received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School where he also received his Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology. He completed his clinical residency at Stanford University. Dr. Taniguchi has received multiple awards and honors, most notably the Sabin Family Fellowship and has been named a McNair, CPRIT, and Rhodes Scholar.
James Welsh, M.D. and his team are committed to finding new therapies for combating solid thoracic tumors, particularly lung cancers. Their research focuses on reactivating the immune system and utilizing it as an in situ vaccine along with radiation in order to battle not just the tumor site, but the microenvironment that it creates. The Welsh Lab believes that this is the key to suppressing local and distant disease, which could have applications in not just lung cancer, but other solid tumors such as breast, prostate and pancreatic.
Wendy Woodward, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor and Section Chief of Clinical Breast Radiation in Department of Radiation Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is a physician-scientist with a lab focused on the microenvironment and radiation resistance of inflammatory breast cancer.
Experimental Radiation Oncology Mouse Facility
Experimental Radiation Oncology provides a unique service to the Division of Radiation Oncology and to MD Anderson at large. The ERO mouse colony is one of the few mouse facilities in the country that provides a gnotobiotic defined flora animal for research. These mice produce consistent results in research while reducing the number of variables that can affect data from experiments. Many investigators in ERO and within UTMDACC depend on this consistent animal model for their research needs.
We breed all the mice needed within our facility which includes C3Hf/KamLaw, C57BL/6JLaw, Swiss nude mice and SCID mice. We supply mice for ERO as well as for over 50 investigators in MD Anderson, and they are housed in Veterinary Medicine via a transfer to our facility.
For further information, please contact T Lane Watkins at Lanwatki@mdanderson.org or David R Valdecanas at Dvaldeca@mdanderson.org
USDA Research Facility Registration #7465, PHS Animal Welfare Assurance #A334301, AAALAC Accredited since 1969