Ahsan Farooqi, MD, PhD
Clinical Fellow (Radiation Oncology)
I am a radiation oncology resident at MD Anderson Cancer Center with a research background in telomere biology, DNA repair, and radiation resistance. I joined the Huse lab to continue to research how ATRX loss of function mutations lead to the development of the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) phenotype, and whether this phenotype can be targeted with small molecules in combination with radiotherapy. Specifically, I will be testing novel pre-clinical agents known as G-Quadruplex ligand stabilizers in in vitro and in vivo glioblastoma models to determine whether there is a synergistic effect with radiation therapy. My long term goals are to identify compounds that improve responsiveness to radiotherapy in neural and mesenchymal cancers to improve clinical outcomes for these patients.
Carla Danussi, Ph.D.
My research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying pediatric and adult gliomagenesis. I use a combined approach of genomic, molecular and functional analyses to uncover the factors driving glioma formation and progression. My overall goal is to provide new strategies to improve targeted therapy for this deadly disease.
I joined the lab of Jason Huse, M.D., Ph.D. in June of 2014 and since then I have been studying the role of ATRX loss-of-function mutations in glioma. Large-scale genomic profiling has identified ATRX loss-of-function mutations as defining molecular alterations in major glioma subclasses. Notably, despite its long-standing implication in neurodegenerative disease, ATRX has only recently been associated with cancer and the mechanisms by which its deficiency promotes neoplasia remain unclear.
During my time in the Huse Lab, I've demonstrated that ATRX deficiency, by altering histone deposition, induces widespread effects on chromatin structure and accessibility, with associated changes in gene expression. At a functional level, ATRX deficiency affects neural progenitor cell differentiation and increases cell motility. These latter findings recapitulate the highly malignant properties of gliomas. In fact, they uniformly exhibit a tendency to widely infiltrate surrounding normal brain tissue, precluding their complete removal by surgery and rendering them incurable. Successful completion of this project will have many potential benefits to cancer patients. Elucidating how ATRX deficiency drives glioma formation will greatly improve the understanding of an important cancer-related gene, while also guiding the development of appropriate treatment strategies for adult and pediatric glioma as well as other cancers that feature ATRX mutations.
Senior Research Assistant
I received my degree in Biology from Moscow State Pedagogical University in 2005. Starting 2006, I began working at UT Houston as a Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Associate. I received my training in the field of Molecular Biology/Biochemistry in the research laboratory of the Nobel Prize Winner Ferid Murad, M.D., Ph.D..
I am proficient in cell and molecular biology, cell imaging systems, gene manipulation, and fluidic transcriptomic arrays. Currently, I manage technical aspects to keep the laboratory running by provide personnel with training on research techniques and methods, laboratory standard operational procedures and technical support on ongoing research projects. I assist with laboratory research fund operations and supply orders. I also manage animal colony integrity and sustainability.
Kazutaka Fukumura, Ph.D.
I am interested in the elucidation of carcinogenesis mechanisms through genomic analyses.
In the Huse laboratory, I perform comprehensive genomic analysis of glioma and brain metastasis with the aim of developing novel therapeutic strategies against these refractory cancers.
David Irvin, Ph.D.
I’m from Raleigh NC. I received my B.S. in biology from UNC Chapel Hill, followed by a M.S. in biochemistry from NCSU, where I studied prokaryotic translation. I received my Ph.D. from UNC Chapel Hill. The topic of my dissertation was the impact of the cell of origin on resulting glioblastoma tumorigenesis. In the Huse lab, I study the impact of ATRX on tumorigenesis in mouse models of glioma.
Christian Michael Alvarez
I am a research Intern in Dr. Jason Huse’s lab. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and attended the University of Miami. During my undergraduate studies, I conducted research on pain tolerance and responses to noxious stimuli in spinal cord transected rats with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.
After graduating from Miami with a B.S. in Neuroscience in August of 2018, I moved back to Houston with the intent of exploring research avenues with a greater focus before I attend medical school. My research focuses on ATRX deficient gliomas that lengthen their telomeres via an Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) mechanism. The bulk of my responsibilities are in the mouse colony, where we are testing a chemotherapy drug called a G4 stabilizer in ATRX deficient, ALT driven glioma mouse models with the aim of decreasing tumor malignancy and increasing survivability. Additionally, I test the biochemical properties of the drug in culture and assist with various in-vitro experiments in the lab.
Graduate Research Asst-GSBS
I am currently a Graduate Research Assistant at GSBS and joined the Huse lab in Spring 2019. I received my BA in Biochemistry and MS in Medical Physiology from Case Western Reserve University. My previous research experiences span from basic science to clinical research- with discrete focuses on Alzheimer's Disease, locoregional recurrent breast cancer, and medical mycology. In the Huse lab, I am researching novel approaches to therapeutically intervene in ATRX-deficient high-grade glioma using in vitro and in vivo preclinical models. Specifically, I am working with pharmacological compounds called G4 stabilizers that have recently been shown to induce selective cytotoxicity in ATRX-deficient astrocytes. We aim to test this compound further, both alone and in combination with ionizing radiation.
Former Lab Members
I am an undergraduate attending Rice University who researches glioma cancer cell molecular pathways in the Huse Laboratory. I joined the lab of Jason Huse June, 2018 and have loved working here.
You will find me in Huse Laboratory working with Carla Danussi to further study ATRX gene mutation. The hope is my projects will have health benefits for cancer patients. I am proficient in coding and creating algorithms with experience in technical wet lab skills. A Houston native, I am an avid Rockets and Texans fan with great pride for the Bayou City.
I am a medical student of the University of Strasbourg, France. As a part of my M.D.-Ph.D. program, I am currently doing a master degree in Genetics at the University of Paris Diderot, which includes a 6 month internship. In the Huse Lab, I am studying the significance of specific metabolic pathways in the process of brain metastasis using in vitro and in vivo models.
Soo Hyun Lee, M.D., Ph.D.
I'm a pediatric oncologist with more than 10 years of clinical experience at Samsung Medical Center in South Korea. I received her Ph.D. in medicine from Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in 2012. Previously,my medical oncology research focused on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and mesenchymal stem cell biology. I then moved on to study high throughput sequencing data and cancer genomics. I worked as a research scientist in Samsung Genome Institute in 2015, in which I studied the genomics in pediatric cancer and clinical interpretation of genomic data. I joined the Huse Lab in 2016 as a postdoctoral fellow and am focusing on the genomic characterization of neuroblastoma and glioma.