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Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy
Associate Director for Education, Mays Cancer Center
Research in Dr. Robin Leach's laboratory focuses primarily on urologic cancers including prostate, bladder and testicular. For prostate cancer, the work centers on identify better markers for progression and outcome, with the long term goal of developing biomarkers that will assist clinically in distinguishing between indolent versus aggressive disease. In addition to the prognostic marker work, Dr. Leach's laboratory works to validate existing biomarkers for prostate cancer with the goal of utilizing them in informed decision making. For bladder cancer, the effort is focused on determine the effects of obesity on bladder cancer progression; this work could ultimately lead to new therapeutic approaches for treating bladder cancer. Dr. Leach is a molecular geneticist by training and has worked on the genetics of several complex diseases. Recently, this work has been expanded to project in pharmacogenetics and health disparity. In addition to her primary research, she oversee the Mays Cancer Center Biobank and the Biobank and Genome Analysis Core for the Institution. She is also the Associated Director for Education for the Mays Cancer Center and in this role, oversee their Office of Education.
Dr. Leach has received several awards for her teaching activities including: Graduate Dean's Award for Exceptional Graduate Teaching, President Award for Excellence in Teaching, Elected member of UT Health San Antonio Academy of Teachers, Named UT Board of Regents "Distinguished Teaching Professor", UT System Regents Outstanding Teaching Award, Piper Professorship (Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation), and Founding member of the Academy of Educational Scholar, LSOM
Associate Director for Scientific Development
Biomarkers, Cancer Prevention, Clinical Trials, Genetics of Cancer, Health Disparities, Prostate Cancer
Population Science and Prevention Program
Funding Agency National Institutes of Health Title San Antonio Cancer Institute Status Active Period 9/1998 - Present Role Co-Investigator Grant Detail To identify the cultural, economic, and structural barriers to early phase clinical trial participation faced by patients and oncologists, and to develop effective interventions to reduce these barriers, thereby increasing participation in drug development trials. Funding Agency National Institutes of Health Title San Antonio Cancer Institute/CTRC Status Active Period 9/1998 - Present Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail The CTRC (formerly San Antonio Cancer Institute) is an NCI-designated cancer center. Dr. Leach directs the Genomics core facility which offers genotyping, gene expression, and biobanking. Funding Agency NIH Title Cancer Therapy and Research Center (Genetics Resource Core) Status Complete Period 9/1999 - 7/2018 Role Co-Investigator Grant Detail Funding Agency NIH/NCI Title The Cancer Bioinformatics Initiative: A UTSA/UTHSCSA Partnership (1 of 2) Status Complete Period 9/2012 - 8/2017 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail This is a partnership between quantitative scientist at UTSA and cancer biologist working on health disparity at UTHSCSA. The goal is to develop curriculum in bioinformatics for the quantitative scientist at UTSA, provide summer internships for students in those disciplines at UTHSCSA plus educational opportunities for biologist at UTHSCSA to gain expertise in analyzing big data.
Dr. Leach serves on a number of departmental committees including the teaching award committee and student award committee. In addition, she is a member of the PTAC and PTEC for the Department of Cell System and Anatomy.
Dr. Leach is the Associate Director for Education for the Mays Cancer Center. In this role, she is involved in managing the summer cancer research programs that are offered for students from high school to master's level. In addition, she oversee the Office of Education for the Cancer Center. She is also a founding member of the Academy of Educational Scholars.
Dr. Leach oversee the institutional Biobanking and Genome Analysis Core. She has been an institutional core director since 2000.
Dr. Leach has served as an ad hoc member as well as a regular study section member for numerous NIH committees including Cancer Genetics and Health Disparity Research Committee for the National Cancer Institute. In addition, she is a regular reviewer for the CDMRP program sponsored by the Department of Defense. In this role, she has participated in over 40 study sections, and has chaired more than half of these.
Long Parma DA, Munoz EM, Ogden SM, Leach RJ, Thompson IM, Ramirez AG. Abstract B36: Helicobacter pylori exposure among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white men in San Antonio, Texas: Implications for gastric cancer risk disparities: AACR; 2015 Oct. (Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention; vol. 24, no. B36).
Choate K, Gelfond J, Ankerst D, Hernandez J, Leach R, Thompson I. Long-term risk of prostate cancer is directly related to baseline PSA; 2015 May. (Poster presentation for the American Urological Association).
Patil D, de la Calle C, Weaver B, Leach R, Thompson I, Sokoll L, Chan D, Groskpof J, Carter JJ, Torlak M, Sanda M. Multi-center prospective study of urine RNA testing as a strategy for prostate cancer screening: collaboration between urology, primary care, and community outreach; 2015 May. (Podium Presentation for the American Urological Association).
Chau CH, Price DK, Till C, Goodman PJ, Chen X, Leach RJ, Johnson-Pais TL, Hsing AW, Hoque A, Tangen CM, Chu L, Parnes HL, Schenk JM, Reichardt JK, Thompson IM, Figg WD. Finasteride concentrations and prostate cancer risk: results from the prostate cancer prevention trial PLoS One 2015 May;10:126672-126672.
Gelfond J, Choate K, Ankerst DP, Hernandez J, Leach RJ, Thompson IM Jr. Intermediate-term risk of postate cancer is directly related to baseline PSA: Implications for reducing the burden of PSA screening J Urol 2015 Jan;194:46-51. Grill S, Fallah M, Leach RJ, Thompson, IM, Hemminki K, Ankerst DP. A simple-to-use method incorporating genomic markers into prostate cancer risk prediction tools facilitated future validation J Clin Epidemiol 2015 Jan;68:563-573.
Overholser S, Nielsen M, Torkko K, Cwilka D, Weaver B, Shi X, Leach RJ, Hernandez J, Huang T, Thompson IM Jr, Thompson IM 3rd. Active Surveillance is An Appropriate Management Strategy for A Proportion of Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer by PSA Testing J Urol 2015 Jan;194:680-684. Quek SI, Wong OM, Chen A, Borges GT, Ellis WJ, Salvanha DM, Vencio RZ, Weaver B, Ench YM, Leach RJ, Thompson IM, Liu AY. Processing of voided urine for prostate cancer RNA biomarker analysis 2015 Jan;75:1886-1895. Ankerst DP, Liss M, Zapata D, Hoefler J, Thompson IM, Leach RJ. A case control study of sarcosine as an early prostate cancer detection biomarker BMC Urol 2015 Jan;99.
Horning AM, Awe JA, Wang CM, Liu J, Lai Z, Wang VY, Jadhav RR, Louie AD, Lin CL, Kroczak T, Chen Y, Jin VX, Abboud-Werner SL, Leach RJ, Hernandez J, Thompson IM, Saranchuk J, Drachenberg D, Chen CL, Mai S, Huang TH. DNA methylation screening of primary prostate tumors identifies SRD5A2 and CYP11A1 as candidate markers for assessing risk of biochemical recurrence Prostate 2015 Jan;75:1790-1801.
Gonzalez R, Gonzalez S, Villa E, Ramirez M, Zavala J, Armas R, Contreras J, Dassori A, Leach RJ, Flores D, Jerez A, Raventos H, Ontiveros A, Nicolini H, Escamilla M. Identification of circadian gene variants in bipolar disorder in Latino populations J Affect Disord 2015 Jan;186:367-375. Strobl AN, Vickers AJ, Van Calster B, Steyerberg E, Leach RJ, Thompson IM, Ankerst DP. Improving patient prostate cancer risk assessment: Moving from static, globally-applied to dynamic practice-specific risk calculators J Biomed Inform 2015 Jan;56:87-93.
Grill S, Fallah M, Leach RJ, Thompson IM, Freedland S, Hemminki K, Ankerst DP. Incorporation of Detailed Family History from the Swedish Family Cancer Database into the PCPT Risk Calculator J Urol 2015 Jan;193:460-465.
Mohamed GH, Gelfond JA, Nicolas MM, Brand TC, Sarvis JA, Leach RJ, Johnson-Pais TL. Genomic characterization of testis cancer: associations of alterations with outcome of clinical stage 1 mixed germ cell nonseminomatous germ cell tumor of the testis Urology 2012 Aug;80:e1-e5.
Beuten J, Halder I, Fowler S, Goring HH, Duggirala R, Arya R, Thompson, Jr. IM, Leach RJ, Lehman DM. Wide disparity in genetic admixture among Mexican Americans from San Antonio, TX Ann Hum Genet 2011 Jan;75:529-538.