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.
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.