Areas of Research
- Oral Cancer
- Head and Neck Cancer
The Zhao lab is a basic science and translation research program centered on the evolution of head and neck cancers with a specific focus on oral premalignant lesions, oral cancer and anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Understanding shifts in population selection during natural tumor evolution and response to treatment is a major gap in our knowledge about cancer biology. The goal of our laboratory is to understand the genetic and metabolic evolution of head and neck cancers, in order to utilize this knowledge for the generation of targeted therapies in prevention and treatment.
Specifically, my lab is interested in utilizing patient samples, to identify early clonal drivers/pathways in head and neck cancers and combine the use of mouse models, organoids, and cell lines to genetically and pharmacologically regulate these drivers/pathways in order to assess their therapeutic potential. Furthermore, our lab is integrated with numerous working groups interested in various head and neck cancers. These working groups comprise surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and translational/basic scientists coming together to design innovative and clinically relevant projects with the infrastructure to support tissue and clinical data collection from patients.
About Xiao Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., FRCSC
Dr. Xiao Zhao received his medical degree (MD) from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. He then completed his residency in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and concurrently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. Dr. Zhao subsequently completed a clinical fellowship in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center and a research fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Guillermina Lozano at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Zhao has a clinical interest in oral cancer and oral premalignancy.
B.S. in laboratory medicine, Chongqing, China, in 1996
M.S. in molecular diagnosis, Chongqing, China, in 2001
Hobbies: Travel, cooking and crafting
Evit Rajan John
Graduate Research Assistant
Bachelor's in dental sciences, Manipal University, India
M.P.H. in epidemiology and global health, UT Health Houston School of Public Health
Ph.D. student in biostatistics and advanced data science, UT Health Houston School of Public Health
Hobbies: Hiking, road trips, gardening and photography
Research Assistant II
Training: Bachelor's in biochemistry and molecular biology from Houston Christian University
Hobbies: Working with horses, various arts and crafts, hiking and camping