Albert C. Koong, M.D., Ph.D.
Division Head and Chair, Radiation Oncology
Dr. Albert C. Koong is the Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and holds the Robert C. Hickey Endowed Chair for Clinical Care. He is a Fellow of the American College of Radiology (FACR) and a Fellow of ASTRO (FASTRO). His clinical research interests are focused on the application of highly targeted radiotherapy techniques for gastrointestinal malignancies, particularly on the use of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)/stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) for pancreatic and liver cancer. His NIH/NCI funded laboratory studies the role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in tumor growth and metastases. His major laboratory research focus is to develop therapies that target signaling pathways regulated by the tumor microenvironment and to develop biomarkers that are predictive of clinical outcomes.
Dadi Jiang, Ph.D.
Dr. Jiang has a solid background in cancer biology, drug discovery and bioinformatic analysis of large-scale omics data. His current research focus on investigating the IRE1/XBP1 pathway of the unfolded protein response (UPR) as a therapeutic target for cancer treatment and developing novel therapeutic strategies to target this pathway. He is also conducting research on particle therapy, FLASH radiation and radiation-induced anti-tumor immune response with a multi-investigator team.
Xianzhou Song, Ph.D.
Dr. Song dedicates himself to understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer progression, finding novel target for drug development, and exploring better drug for cancer treatment. Recently, his research focuses on the unfolded protein response (UPR), a conserved stress response pathway to maintain protein homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Both intrinsic and ER-stress induced UPR are investigated for their contributions to pancreatic cancer development. In addition, he is currently working on modifying a small molecular inhibitor (SMI) targeting IRE1a (ER stress sensor) to optimize its performance for pancreatic cancer therapy.
Liang Wang, Ph.D.
Liang received his B.S. in Biotechnology from Fudan University in China and his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He joined Koong lab in 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow. His research focuses on the study of ER stress and tumor microenvironment. His projects involve identifying and validation of new molecular targets for cancer therapy. Outside of lab, he enjoys spending time in the gym and hiking with friends.
Youming Guo, Ph.D.
Youming received her B.S. degree in Biotechnology from Jilin University and Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences from Medical University of South Carolina. She joined the Koong lab in March 2020. She previously worked on endothelial senescence and aging during her Ph.D. studies. Currently she focus on small molecule therapeutics targeting the UPR pathway and radiation sensitization utilizing multiple PDX models. Outside of lab, she is a cat lover and likes road trip.
Ling Xia, M.S.
Senior Research Assistant
Ling earned her M.S. in Basic Science from Guangdong University of Technology in China. She has many years of experience in molecular and cancer biology with lab scientists and clinical fellows and joined the Koong Lab in 2018. Currently she focuses on transgenic/knock-out/knock-in colonies in the lab. She is also coordinating daily laboratory management, compliance, and maintenance.
Kathleen A Bridges, MS
Kate Bridges joined the Koong lab in October 2018. She completed her B.S. degree in Biology from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX and M.S. degree in Molecular Biology and Cancer Biology from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 2007. Her previous research in the laboratory of Raymond Meyn, Ph.D. at MD Anderson Cancer Center focused on assessing molecularly targeted therapeutics such as the Wee1 inhibitor MK-1775, the Parp inhibitor niraparib, and the Chk1 inhibitor MK-8776, as radiosensitizers.
Stanley joined the Koong Lab during the summer of 2019. Originally from Orange County, California, he is currently an undergraduate student at Rice University majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, listening to music, and exploring the diverse food scene in Houston.
Visiting Undergraduate Student
Tianyu is an undergraduate student from Nankai University, China. His previous research focused on botany (using Spirodela as 'factory ' to make biological product) and biochemistry. After obtaining basic training, he joined Dr. Jae-il Park's Lab in MD Anderson Cancer Center and learned experimental skills in cancer research. With a strong interest in pancreatic cancer (PDAC) research, Tianyu joined Dr. Koong's Lab for an opportunity to explore the underlying mechanisms of PDAC initiation, progression, metastasis, and potential treatment strategies. Tianyu is also seeking opportunities for graduate training in cancer research. His dream is to become an independent investigator to contribute to the cancer research field.