Joya Chandra, Ph.D.
B.S. Microbiology, Louisiana State University,1993
Ph.D. Cancer Biology and Immunology, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1998
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Division of Toxicology, Institute for Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, 1998-2000
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Division of Oncology Research, Mayo Clinic, 2000-2002
Hobbies: Cooking, kayaking and canoeing
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
B.A. Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers University, 2009
Cavan is interested in how epigenetic mechanisms can affect therapeutic response in brain tumors, particularly pediatric subtypes like diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). His project focuses on the histone demethylase LSD1 and its role in governing genes related to immune response and metabolic regulation. He is also exploring how nutrient availability can change anti-tumor efficacy of epigenetic inhibitors and proteasome inhibitors, which may provide insight into how our diets influence cancer treatment.
Hobbies: biking, live music and fashion
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Tiewei (Leo) Cheng, M.D., Ph.D.
Ph.D. Experimental Therapeutics, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 2014
M.D. Wenzhou Medical University, 2005
Leo’s project focuses on the role of histone deacetylation (HDAC) in refractory multiple myeloma and the therapeutic potential of HDAC inhibitors. He examines the specific role of class II HDACs in the development and maintenance of bortezomib resistance and investigates novel drug combinations in search of a more efficacious treatment regimen to combat refractory disease.
Hobbies: Exercise and electronic gadgets
Hometown: Wenzhen, China
A.S. Chemistry, Southwestern Community College, 2012
A.A. Mathematics, Southwestern Community College, 2012
B.S. Chemistry, University of California San Diego, 2015
Luisa’s projects focus on the role of antioxidants in tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) resistance in myeloid leukemias. In CML, the lab has discovered a novel pathway where the NADPH oxidase (NOX) 2 complex promotes expression of the transcription factor early growth response 1 (egr-1) and its downstream target Fyn, leading to resistance to BCR/ABL-1 directed TKI. In AML, elevated ROS production as a result of Flt3-ITD expression increases expression of the antioxidant HO-1. The mechanism of this up-regulation is under investigation; however, we believe that, much like in CML, it involves the NOX complex. Further, we have found that by targeting the transcription factor responsible for HO-1 expression (Nrf2) or HO-1 directly we can sensitize Flt3-ITD expressing cells to Flt3-directed TKIs.
Hobbies: board games, podcast, TV and film theories
Hometown: Chula Vista, CA
Karla Crawford, M.P.H, RD, LD
B.S. Human Nutrition and Foods, University of Houston, 2006
Dietetic Internship, University of Texas Health Science Center, 2011
M.P.H. Epidemiology, University of Texas Health Science Center, 2011
Karla currently works as a research dietitian with the ON to Life Program on the pediatric energy balance studies and promotes and maintains the e-Cookbook, At The Table, which was created in conjunction with the Children’s Cancer Hospital. She is also responsible for conducting nutrition counseling, nutrition and cooking classes, and acts a liaison between the ON to Life team, clinical nutrition patients and their families.
Hobbies: Spending time with family & friends, edible gardens and DIY projects
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Alexsandra (Alex) Espejo
B.S. in Marine Biology from University of Concepcion, Chile
PhD in Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis from MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Alexsandra's research has focused on understanding the therapeutic role of LSD1 inhibitors in glioblastoma stem cells. Her investigations are also directed towards the critical role of LSD1 in adipocytes and elucidating the relationship between LSD1 and the risk of second malignancies in obese individuals.
Hobbies: gardening and walking my dogs
Hometown: Santiago, Chile
Mary Figuerora, B.S.
B.S. Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona, 2016
Mary's work focuses on studying factors that can induce elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body, which can promote aggressive forms of leukemia; elevated ROS can come from different sources, including diet and cigarette smoke. I will observe how modifying ROS levels impacts leukemia treatment response. I hope to find ways to reduce this change in ROS as a method to help treat leukemia patients.
Hobbies: watching movies, eating, sketching and reading
Hometown: Glendale, AZ
Margaret (Maggie) Raber, M.P.H.
Graduate Research Assistant
Diplome Cuisine, Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, 2006
B.S. Nutrition/Food Studies, New York University, 2010
M.P.H. Community Health Practice, University of Texas School of Public Health, 2014
Margaret's research focuses on healthy eating promotion for childhood cancer patients and survivors. She manages the Children's Cancer Hospital online cookbook "At The Table," works on curriculum and metric development, and interacts directly with families by teaching cooking classes.
Hobbies: rock climbing and surfing
Hometown: Houston, TX