Anil Sood, M.D.
Nicholas B. Jennings
Nick graduated from the University of Houston after majoring in Biochemistry and Biophysics. He joined the lab in 2004 as a research assistant and has evolved over the years to lead the day-to-day operations of the lab along with lab compliance/integrity. He has worked on a variety of projects over the years with a focus on nanoparticles/extracellular vesicles as well as chronic stress effects. Nick is an avid volleyball player and lover of playing sports in general, along with interests in art and music. He has visited 6 out of 7 continents and loves getting away into nature.
Mark Seungwook Kim
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology & Reproductive Medicine at MD Anderson. I got my Ph.D. from Seoul National University and completed my postdoctoral training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center. I have an extensive background in cancer biology, with specific training and expertise in cancer metastasis and translational research for novel anti-cancer drug development. My research has focused on: 1) development of a unique and innovative approach to cancer therapy using novel inhibitors aimed to target therapy, 2) development and design mouse models for novel anti-cancer drug testing, and 3) determining how bidirectional signaling between cancer cells and tumor microenvironment contributes to tumor progression and acquisition of the resistant phenotype.
I obtained my Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (2004). Subsequently, I completed my postdoctoral training at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, studying tumor metastasis and genomic instability. I joined MD Anderson with a specific interest on working in a translational environment focused on ovarian cancer. My current research in ovarian cancer are centered on the following areas: 1) interfering with tumor-associated vasculature with molecularly based nanomedicine; 2) disrupting tumor-promoting activities of prolactin with antagonist peptides; 3) novel antibody-drug conjugates to target folate receptor alpha mediated cancer metabolism.
I am a cancer biologist with expertise in molecular and cellular biology, nanomedicine and cancer biology. I am an Instructor in the Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA (RNA Center) at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Over the last several years, I have focused on developing novel nanoparticle systems for systemic delivery of ncRNAs for cancer therapy. I am implementing new strategies of siRNA/miRNA therapeutics for the treatment of ovarian and other types of cancer. I identified novel ligands for anti-angiogenic therapy for ovarian cancer and developed new novel nanovectors to deliver siRNA/miRNA into ovarian tumors. Over the last 13 years, I have made major scientific contributions related to biology as well as regulation of tumor angiogenesis (Cancer Cell, 2010). I have identified a better approach to target cancer-associated endothelial cells, reverse permeability and leakiness of tumor blood vessels (JCI Insight, 2016). By using novel nanovectors like chitosan and DOPC, I targeted stromal specific components and metastatic markers to inhibit ovarian and other tumor metastasis (Cell Metab, 2016; Cancer Cell, 2016; J Clin Invest. 2018). My current research focuses on studying the role of ncRNAs such as miRNA and lncRNA in ovarian tumor growth.
I am an instructor in the department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX, USA with expertise in cell biology, epigenetics and cancer biology. I have over 7 years of experience in the field of cancer cell biology and developing non-coding RNA based therapeutics. My professional goal is to discover novel therapeutic targets and develop effective anticancer strategies. Over the last 3 years, I have focused on understanding the genetic and epigenetic changes associated with cancer cell survival and tumor progression. Specifically, I elucidated the effects of non-promoter DNA methylation on gene expression and identified novel synergistic partners for EPHA2 therapeutic (EPHARNA) using high-throughput chemical screens. I have expertise in a variety of mouse models of cancer. My overall career goal is to make significant contributions in cancer research to improve cancer prevention, detection and therapy.
I am an instructor in the laboratory of Anil K Sood, M.D., at the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine. My research interests are primarily on the role of platelets in immune suppression in ovarian cancer models and also in devising strategies for overcoming adaptive resistance to anti-angiogenesis drugs; which could lead to discovery of novel therapeutics for effective cancer management. I have a bachelors degree in Biotechnology, Chemistry and Botany (Triple Main) from St. Aloysius College, University of Mangalore, and my Masters in Biotechnology form SIAS institute, University of Calicut. I obtained my Ph.D. in Immunology in 2012 from the University of Münster, Germany [graduate school-Cell Dynamics and Disease/International Max Plank Research School (CEDAD-IMPRS)], wherein I investigated the role of S100 proteins in the cellular dynamics of phagocytes. I then joined MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2013 as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the department of Translational Molecular Pathology and investigated the role of CD8+ T cells, platelets and MDSCs in facilitating metastatic competence in breast cancer, and was promoted to an Instructor in 2019 in the same department. On a personal note, I love to spend time with family and friends, to sing occasionally, to watch movies, and to explore new places.
I am an oncologist and a post-doc at MD Anderson. In the Sood Laboratory, I work on several projects, some related to the role of cancer-derived EVs and tumor-educated platelets in high-grade serous ovarian cancer initiation and early diagnosis. Additionally, I am involved in several tissue analysis projects in which I study markers and localization-defined immune cells phenotypes in HGS tumor microenvironment.
As a post-doctoral fellow at MD Anderson, I am working on plant extracellular vesicles and plant derived vesicles anticancer potential/mechanism. I am also involved in some plant extracellular function analysis projects.
I joined MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Sood Laboratory in 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow. In these last few years, I have been working mainly on projects related to tumor microenvironment with focus in mechanisms of immune suppression in ovarian cancer, single-cell heterogeneity of high grade serous ovarian carcinoma and biomarkers of long-term survival.
I was born and raised in Ohio. After completing my residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology, I joined the Sood Laboratory to prepare for a career as a physician scientist in the field of Gynecologic Oncology. I spend my free time outside - hiking, biking, or just lounging by the pool.
Surgical Fellow (GynOnc T32)
Deanna graduated medical school from the University of Washington in 2016 and finished her residency training in Ob/GYN at Brown University in 2020. She is joining the lab as a research fellow in gynecology oncology. When she’s not in the lab she enjoys spending time with her husband, Tom, and her almost 3-year-old daughter, Adler. She is interested in the mechanisms of resistance of ovarian cancer. Her main project will be investigating micro-environmental changes that develop after treatment with anti-angiogenic therapies and potential therapeutic targets to overcome this adaptive resistance.
Graduate Research Assistant
I am a Ph.D. student at the MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School. My current research has been focused on the mechanism of the hematogenous metastasis in ovarian cancer, the mechanism of the lymphatic metastasis in ovarian cancer and the mechanism of adaptive resistance to combination therapy with anti-angiogenesis drugs.
Graduate Research Assistant
I am an M.D./Ph.D. student at the University of Texas MSTP at Houston, and joined the Sood Laboratory to complete my dissertation research in July 2021. I currently work on projects related to overcoming adaptive resistance of ovarian cancers to current therapies with a focus on leveraging autophagy cell death as a therapeutic strategy. I am also interested in the connections between chronic stress and tumor biology. Long-term, I plan to take my training here into my future practice as a clinician-scientist. Outside of research, I enjoy quality time with family and friends, music, staying active and exploring new places.
Graduate Research Assistant
I joined Sood Lab as a GSBS M.S. student and worked on investigating the role of stress and extracellular vesicles in ovarian cancer. I worked as Research Assistant to Yunfei Wen, Ph.D., and studied autophagy, angiogenesis and adaptive resistance to anti-angiogenic therapies. I am currently a GSBS Ph.D. student and I am interested in bispecific antibodies and neuroendocrine stress in ovarian cancer.
Nazende Nur Bayram
Graduate Research Assistant
I have graduated from Erciyes University, Faculty of Pharmacy, as a high honor student in 2016. Currently, I am doing my Ph.D. at Abdullah Gul University (AGU) in the Bioengineering Department. My main project is development of breast cancer targeted pH-sensitive, multifunctional cross-linked micellar carriers. I joined MD Anderson Cancer Center in June 2022 in the Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine as a graduate student under the supervision of Anil Sood, M.D. I am also interested in plant extracellular vesicles and their role in ovarian cancer. My personal hobbies are listening to classical music, cycling and hiking.
Current Laboratory Staff
Research Assistant I
I was born in Monterrey, Mexico, but spent several years abroad in Austria and Poland. I graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Biology specializing in cellular biology, molecular biology and genetics. My background in research involves plant genetics and using biochemical approaches to understand plant defense responses. At MD Anderson, I am applying my knowledge to help bridge plant research and cancer research. We aim to explore the potential therapeutic effects of plant derived vesicles (PDVs) in ovarian cancer. Using various plant species, we hope to identify functional compounds contained within PDVs that can be used in cancer therapy. Outside the lab, I am passionate about nutrition, exercise, music and Formula 1.