R. Tyler Hillman, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Hillman is an assistant professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology & Reproductive Medicine, and jointly in the Department of Genomic Medicine. He is a surgeon-scientist whose laboratory was founded with the purpose of applying genetic and epigenetic analytical techniques to the discovery of new treatments for rare types of gynecologic cancer. Dr. Hillman was recruited in 2020 with the help of a First-Time Tenure-Track Award from CPRIT. His previous training includes both an M.D. and Ph.D. in genetics from the Stanford University School of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), as well as clinical and postdoctoral research training in cancer genomics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Thomas Welte, Ph.D.
Dr. Welte obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria in 1994. He further pursued research as a postdoctoral fellow and associate research scientist at Yale University until 2005. His studies focused on transcription factors and their hormonal/cytokine regulation in the mammary gland and in the immune system. He then moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, and eventually to League City, Texas. During that time, he held instructor and staff scientist positions at UTMB Galveston, Baylor College of Medicine and Houston Methodist Research Institute, deepening his expertise in the fields of immunology and cancer. Dr Welte’s current work is on adult-type ovarian granulosa cell tumors, aiming to improve therapy of the disease by high-throughput drug screening, derivation of a diverse biobank of tumor organoids, and the development of genetic and xenograft animal tumor models.
Eleonora Khlebus, Ph.D.
Associate Data Scientist
Dr. Khlebus received her Ph.D. in Mathematical Biology and Bioinformatics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 2020 under the guidance of Dr. Alexey Meshkov. Dr. Khlebus’ research during these studies was related to the genetic basis of the increased levels of oxidized low-density lipoproteins and atherosclerosis progression. The main findings were published in the journal PLOS One.
Joining the research group of Dr. Hillman in 2021, Dr. Khlebus concentrated on studying adult-type granulosa cell tumors of the ovary and utilizing computational methods to identify and understand the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer progression. Currently, Dr. Khlebus is focusing on the analysis of the tumor microenvironment composition of ovarian granulosa cell tumors. Comparative tumor microenvironment analysis of primary and recurrent tumors performed by Eleonora was recently published.
Also, Dr. Khlebus participates in other laboratory projects providing comprehensive bioinformatics support, and development of pipelines for the analysis, exploration, and visualization of different kinds of multi-omics data: RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq, and HiC-Seq.
Jian Li, Ph.D.
Dr. Li is passionate about clinical medicine and biomedical science research, solidly trained in performing bench work and critical thinking, and strongly self-motivated to acquire new skills and knowledge. After graduation from medical school in Tongji University in Shanghai, China, in 2017, she earned her Ph.D. from University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in 2022. One project she is working on is to develop and validate a general platform for measuring high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) clonal evolution by integrating tumor biopsy genome sequencing with sensitive detection of structural variant breakpoints from circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA). The other project is to characterize a novel mouse model of adult-type granulosa cell tumor, for which an inducible FoxL2 p.C130W knock-in mouse model was developed.
Shiro Takamatsu, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Takamatsu worked as a gynecologic oncologist in Japan and obtained a Ph.D. at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in 2022. In the Ph.D. course, he learned biostatistics, bioinformatics, and cancer genomics. His research interests include the integrative analysis of multi-omics data and the discovery of clinically useful findings. He plans to work on a project investigating patterns of structural variation detected using long read whole genome sequencing technology in ovarian cancer.
Veena Vuttaradhi, Ph.D.
Dr. Vuttaradhi's research focuses on understanding the functional significance of oncogenic lineage-specific mutant transcription factor Foxl2p.C134W in adult-type granulosa cell tumors (aGCTs), a rare type of ovarian sex-cord stromal cancers. She generated disease-relevant isogenic aGCT cell lines and performed high-quality multi-omics genomic analyses like RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, ATAC-Seq, and promoter capture-HiC-Seq to elucidate the downstream epigenetic regulatory signals of mutant Foxl2p.C134W. Her long-term goal is to acquire mechanistic insights into the ubiquitously present mutant Foxl2p.C134W mediated gene-regulatory networks in aGCT pathogenesis, which is critical to identify the downstream therapeutic vulnerabilities.
Katherine earned a B.S. in animal science at Angelo State University in 2021. She started her research journey at Texas A&M AgriLife Research in San Angelo, Texas, by collaborating on several projects measuring animal fibers using laser and automatic image analysis technology to ensure exported textiles have approval of the global standard. She also provided breeding data for individual and commercial producers to identify their superior animals throughout the country.