The theme of my research spans cancer genomics, tumor biology, medicinal chemistry, and cancer imaging, which reflects well on MD Anderson’s
translational endeavors. With the greater aspiration of designing the next generation of cancer medicines, the multi-disciplinary nature of my work makes
me uniquely poised to integrate these fields, which are often pursued in isolation in translational research. My post-genomic mindset and my deep
appreciation of tumor metabolism allows me to readily see where organic synthesis and drug design can realize viable therapeutic avenues. While I
initially began my career as a basic researcher, executing the nuances of my work has shown me the limitations of pre-clinical cancer model systems. I thus
strive to corroborate my results with the primary human tumor data—whether clinical, pathophysiological, genomic, or metabolic—to ensure that my research is directly applicable to the intended population of patients.
My immediate career goals are to develop drugs to unmet needs and difficult to treat cancers by advancing four pioneering fields of study: 1) Collateral lethality, which consists of developing precision oncology drugs targeting passenger genomic deletions as points of vulnerability. 2) Tumor metabologenomics, the emerging field of study of the interactions of how cancer genetics shapes tumor metabolism. 3) Non-invasive 2D-MRS- based metabolite imaging, which it stands to facilitate the implementation of collateral lethality in the clinic. 4) Post-genomic pro-drug development, built on the understanding that many clinically impactful cancer drugs are pro-drugs and achieve tumor-selective toxicity by tumor-specific metabolic bioactivation, and the newly available genomic data elucidating the cancer specific expression of such metabolic bioactivating genes.