Lauren Colbert, M.D.
Areas of Research
- Cervical Cancer
- Radiation Oncology
- Radiation Therapy
- Vulvar Cancer
- Vaginal Cancer
- Anal Cancer
- Cancer Biology
- Cancer Genomics
- Computational Biology
- DNA Damage Response
Welcome to the Colbert Lab at MD Anderson Cancer Center!
Our lab conducts clinical and translational research in human papillomavirus (HPV) related cancers. Our research focuses on understanding why and how HPV-related cancers respond to radiation and chemotherapy to improve survival and decrease side effects. We aim to find markers in the tumor or blood for these outcomes and develop targeted therapies based on them.
Predicting and improving cancer response to therapy is complex. We believe that integrating multiple layers of data, including microbiome, immune and genomic data, can guide us to new, targeted approaches to improving patient outcomes. While we have a strong computational team and are actively developing new computational pipelines for rigorous biomarker identification, we also have an active bench lab program to test hypotheses generated from our computational data. We welcome interested lab members with both computational interests and wet lab interests.
Our current projects include:
- Study of how specific bacterial species in the tumor microbiome, primarily L. iners, affect cancer and immune cells in HPV-related cancers.
- The use of serial non-invasive swab-based biopsies and a customized computational pipeline to perform serial whole-exome and shallow whole genome sequencing during chemoradiation. Using this data, we can identify tumor mutations associated with tumor microbial species and predict tumor antigens and neoantigens associated with T-cell repertoire changes and immune alterations.
- The development of patient-derived organoids from cervical cancer patients for the study of tumor microbial species, the development of targeted therapies and a better understanding of radiation response in cervical cancer.
Join Our Lab
We have positions open at all levels, but are particularly looking for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Colbert is on faculty at the MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School, and we are currently accepting students for rotations and have several postdoctoral and research scientist positions available.