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I am an MD, PhD with clinical training in Endocrinology and Metabolism and laboratory training in Cancer Genetics, Cellular and Molecular Biology. I am a tenured Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and the Mays Cancer Center at UTHSCSA and the holder of the Robert Tucker Hayes Distinguished Chair in Oncology. My career has focused on research in cancer genetics, with emphasis on pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. Our work uncovering tumor susceptibility genes (including, SDHB, KIF1B, EPAS1/HIF2A, TMEM127, etc) has had both translational and biological impact. These studies helped define paradigms for pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma classification, genetic testing, patient surveillance, and innovative therapeutic modeling. Our translational and basic research uncovered links between energy metabolism, hypoxia, endosomal/lysosomal signaling and cancer susceptibility.
I have mentored over 50 trainees, many of whom have gone on to independent careers. I have been funded by Federal, State and Private grant agencies. I am currently funded by the NIH, Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) and the VHL Alliance. Ongoing research in my team involves genotype-phenotype studies of pheochromocytoma, paraganglioma and other hereditary cancer predisposition, functional studies of susceptibility genes, and novel disease models, including organoids, to study these tumors.
I am the Director of the recently designated PheoPara Alliance Research and Clinical Center of Excellence at UTHSCSA.
Animal Models, Cancer Prevention, Genetics of Cancer, Genitourinary Cancer, Neuro-Oncology, Pediatric Cancer, mTOR Pathway
Cancer Development and Progression Program
Funding Agency NIH-NCATS Title Institute for Integration of Medicine & Science (IIMS): A Partnership to Improve Health Status Active Period 5/2018 - 4/2023 Role Co-Investigator Grant Detail The vision of the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science is to improve health and reduce disparities by
accelerating scientific discoveries and applications across the full translational research spectrum. We will
accomplish this by strategic resource deployment, focusing on prevalent challenges in our region, including: 1)
the health needs of our underserved Hispanic and rural populations, 2) the special health issues facing activeduty
military and veteran populations, and 3) limitations in the translational science workforce required to fill in
critical knowledge gaps and improve health in South Texas and the US. I will serve in the capacity of Medical Director of the CTSA hub liaison team with the Trial Innovation Network Funding Agency NIH-NIGMS Title Interaction of the TMEM127 tumor suppressor with the mTORC1 lysosomal activating complex Status Active Period 6/2017 - 5/2022 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail This proposal will examine the interaction between TMEM127 and the lysosomal protein complex involved in mTORC1 activation by nutrients. Funding Agency NIH-NIGMS Title Mechanisms of internalization and trafficking of the tumor suppressor and lysosomal membrane protein TMEM127 Status Active Period 1/2019 - 12/2020 Role Co-Investigator Grant Detail F31 Fellowship for Shahida K Flores, graduate student. Role: Mentor Funding Agency NIH-NIGMS Title Mechanisms of internalization and trafficking of TMEM127 (F31) Status Active Period 1/2019 - 12/2020 Role Co-Investigator Grant Detail Funding Agency NIH-NRSA-NCI Title Cancer Biology- NCI-NRSA T32 training grant, predoctoral fellow Status Active Period 3/2017 - 12/2018 Role Contributor Grant Detail Shahida Flores, PhD candidate, was selected for the T32 Training Grant in Cancer Biology. This fellowship includes stipend, health insurance allowance and travel allowance for 12 months, renewable to 12 months.Award ended in Dec 2018, as the student was awarded an F31 NIH-NIGMS Fellowship Funding Agency NIA Title Biology of Aging- NIA T32 Training Grant, Postdoctoral Fellow Status Active Period 10/2015 - 9/2017 Role Contributor Grant Detail Subramanya Srikantan, PhD. Selected for Postdoctoral Fellowship within the T32 Training Grant in the Biology of Aging, NIA. One-year fellowship renewable for another year.
Funding Agency Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer Title RNA methylation in metabolically disrupted pediatric cancers Status Active Period 10/2018 - 9/2020 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail Innovator Award
Funding Agency Department of Medicine Pilot-UTHSCSA Title TMEM127 as an integrator of nutrient and growth factor signaling upstream of mTORC1 Status Active Period 1/2017 - 12/2017 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail Pilot Grant- Dept. of Medicine Funding Agency Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Title Investigation of the tumor suppressor TMEM127 on lysosome function and lipid metabolism Status Active Period 8/2014 - 7/2017 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail This proposal will investigate the role of TMEM127 in the lysosome and its regulation of mTOR signaling.
Funding Agency Nathan Shock Center of Excellence Pilot Program Title Tmem127, a novel tissue specific regulator of insulin sensitivity and lipogenesis Status Active Period 7/2019 - 6/2020 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail The major goal of this project is to support in vivo clamp studies to evaluate the glucose/insulin metabolism of Tmem127 whole body and tissue-specific knockout models Funding Agency Mays Cancer Center Multi PI Pilot Title RNA Methylation in Metabolic Cancers -Translational Applications Status Active Period 3/2019 - 2/2020 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail The major goal of this project is to support the generation of genetic models to study the contribution of RNA demethylases to cancers caused by oncometabolite imbalance, and optimize methylRNA sequencing approaches Funding Agency Mays Cancer Center Pilot Title Piloting the Development of a Program of Precision Medicine in Endocrine Cancers, from Biology to Prevention and Clinical Trials Status Active Period 1/2019 - 12/2019 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail The major goal of this project is to establish a pipeline of genotyping rare endocrine cancers that can be used as the basis for health care decisions