Membership in THINC places BCM faculty and their trainees within a dynamic community of diverse scientists and physicians who are actively innovating the science of drugging diseases of aberrant gene control.


current members

H. Courtney Hodges, Ph.D., CPRIT Scholar for Cancer Research; Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology
*Research in the Hodges lab focuses on altered epigenetic function in cancer and other diseases.

Thomas Cooper, M.D., Professor, Dept. of Pathology and Immunology
*The Cooper lab is investigating two broad and related areas: developmentally regulated RNA processing and its disruption as the pathogenic mechanism of the microsatellite expansion disease myotonic dystrophy, type 1 (DM1).

Margaret Goodell, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Center (STaR)
*The Goodell lab is investigating regulation of hematopoietic Stem Cells and Development of Hematologic Malignancies.

Trey Westbrook, Ph.D., McNair Scholar in Cancer Research; Welch Chair in Chemistry; Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Human Genetics and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
*The Westbrook lab is dedicated to tackling fundamental problems in cancer biology and leveraging discoveries into therapeutic approaches for cancer patients.

Huda Zoghbi, M.D., Director, Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute
*The Zoghbi lab uses genetic, cell biological, and biochemical approaches to explore the pathogenesis of polyglutamine neurodegenerative diseases, the function of Math1 in neurodevelopment, and how MECP2 mutations cause postnatal neurodevelopmental disorders.

James Martin, M.D., Ph.D., Vivian L. Smith Chair in Regenerative Medicine, Dept. of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; Director, Cardiomyocyte Renewal Lab, Texas Heart Institute
*The main research interest of the Martin Lab is the study of molecular mechanisms controlling cell growth and differentiation in embryogenesis and their relation to congenital heart defects and heart muscle regeneration.

Charles Lin, Ph.D., CPRIT Scholar for Cancer Research; Pew Scholar; Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Human Genetics
*The Lin lab uses molecular, computational and chemical biology approaches to study gene control in cancer.

Matthew Ellis, M.B., B.Chir., BSc., Ph.D., F.R.C.P, Director, Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center
*The Ellis lab is interested in delineating mechanisms of resistance to standard-of-care therapeutics and metastatis for each breast tumor subtype. The lab also engages in approaches that integrate big data science to gain a better overall understanding of how genetic abberations in breast cancer cells influence disease resistance and therapeutic response.

Thomas Kosten, M.D., Jay H. Waggoner Endowed Chair and Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry Research
*Dr. Kosten’s research interests focus on developing medications and vaccines for addiction and pharmacology.

Damian Young, Ph.D., CPRIT Scholar for Cancer Research; Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
*The Young lab research focuses on the development of chemical pathways leading to molecules that can be used to probe fundamental and disease-associated biology.

Stephen Mack, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology
*Dr. Mack’s research goals and interests lie at the intersection between the study of childhood brain tumors, cancer epigenetics, neuro-development, and translational oncology.

Joanna S. Yi, M.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics, Section of Oncology
*Dr. Yi’s research focuses on discovering new, less toxic, targeted drugs and also identifying and characterizing small molecules with clinical promise in challenging pediatric cancers.

Yongcheng Song, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
*Research interests in the Song lab focus on discovery and development of novel small molecule inhibitors of biologically important proteins, targeting cancer and infectious disease.

Ming Zhou, Ph.D.,Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
*The Zhou lab applies structural, functional and computational methods to understand basic chemical and physical principles in membrane proteins.

David Rowley, Ph.D., Professor, Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology
*The Rowley lab has focused on the evolution of microenvironment stroma from stem cells and how this affects disease progression using several novel model systems that address the origins of CAFs/myofibroblasts and their biology.

Changyi Chen, M.D., Ph.D., Professor in Surgery and Chief, Division of Surgical Research
*Dr. Chen’s laboratory is actively conducting several basic science and translational research projects that are highly relevant to clinical cardiovascular disease and pancreatic cancer.

Yohannes Ghebre, Ph.D., F.A.H.A., Associate Professor; Director of Radiation Biology Research & Education, Dept. of Radiation Oncology
*The Ghebre lab is currently working towards reformulating and repurposing generic drugs for new indications including inflammatory and fibrotic conditions that result from chemoradiation therapy.

Andrew Rice, Ph.D., Nancy Chang, Ph.D. Endowed Professorship, Dept. of Molecular Virology and Microbiology
*The Rice laboratory studies how gene expression is regulated in HIV- the virus that causes AIDS. The major focus of research is on the HIV Tat protein which is essential for HIV transcription.

Rui Chen, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Human Genetics
*Professor Chen’s lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying human diseases. Both experimental and computational approaches are used in combination to identify and model gene functions in both human patients and model organisms.

Clifford Dacso, M.D., Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology
*Dr. Dacso’s research focuses on clinical metabolomics and biosensors and also the development of novel delivery systems for healthcare in communities, especially medically underserved areas in the U.S. and the developing world.

Charles Foulds, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology
*Dr. Foulds’ current research involves proteomics of DNA-bound nuclear receptor-coregulator complexes.

Xiaoyong Fu, M.D., Ph.D. , Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology
*Dr. Fu’s lab is currently researching lineage-specific master transcription factors that lead to investigation of new therapeutic strategies to treat forms of malignancies, including metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Sang Jun Han, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology
*Among women’s reproductive disease, the Han lab is focusing on the molecular etiology of endometriosis and endometriosis-associated diseases.

Michael Lewis, Ph.D., Professor, Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center
*Research in the Lewis lab is focused on the genetic regulation of mammary gland development and early-stage breast cancer.

Wenbo Li, Ph.D., CPRIT Scholar for Cancer Research; Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (UT Health)
*Dr. Li’s research focuses on new frontiers of gene regulation: charting the function and regulation of noncoding RNA/DNA in the human genome.

Olivier Lichtarge, M.D., Ph.D., Cullen Chair and Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Human Genetics
*The Lichtarge lab marries computation with experiments to study three areas of protein structure-function: the molecular basis of protein catalysis and interaction, the design of peptides and proteins, and the annotation of protein sequence and structure.

Bert O’Malley, M.D., Chancellor, Baylor College of Medicine
*Dr. O’Malley’s research interests focus on hormone action, coactivator function, Eukaryotic gene expression, gene therapy, and nanotechnology.

Pavel Sumazin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology
*Dr. Sumazin interprets molecular profiles of human tumors to inform cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.

Zheng Sun, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
*The Sun lab’s research is centered around how the environment, including external dietary environment and the physical exercise or internal hormonal environment and the circadian clock, regulates metabolism and cognitive functions at the epigenomic level.

Koen Venken, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
*Dr. Venken’s lab studies the probing and understanding of multigenic biomedical phenomena using state-of-the-art synthetic biology, cell biology, genetics, genome engineering and transgenesis technologies in cellular and organismal model systems.

Zhao Wang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
*The Wang lab is interested in the areas of structure determination of biological nano-machines by electron cryo-microscopy (cryoEM) techniques and computer reconstruction, and the use of structures to reveal their structure-based functional mechanisms.

Jianming Xu, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology
*Professor Xu’s lab is focused on determining the oncogenic or tumor-suppressive roles of a group of coregulators altered in breast, prostate or endometrial cancers and elucidating their molecular mechanisms for regulating the initiation, progression and metastasis of these cancers.

Nicolas Young, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
*The Young laboratory works at the intersection of three fields: epigenetics, top down proteomics and cancer. The lab uses cutting edge top down proteomics tools to study the proteoforms of histones, transcription factors, nuclear receptors, co-activators/co-repressors, and chromatin “readers”.

Jason Yustein, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology
*Dr. Yustein’s research interests include furthering the biological, molecular and genetic understanding of pediatric sarcomas, including osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma, through the formation of novel systems that will lead to the discovery of new therapeutic targets and subsequent development of new treatment interventions.

Tao Wu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Human Genetics
*The long-term goal of the Wu lab is to overcome the cancer therapeutic resistance. The lab’s research will examine how DNA 6mA and its regulators control the development of treatment resistance in cancer stem cell models.

Md. Abul Hassan Samee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
*The Sammee lab’s research focuses explaining how genotype translates to phenotype and how to apply this knowledge in the context of tissue regeneration and cancer.

Lingyong Li, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neuroscience
*The Li lab’s research is centered around the mechanisms underlying neuropathic pain and their translations into potential therapeutic approaches to treat neuropathic pain.

Rikhia Chakraborty, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology
*The focus of Dr. Chakraborty’s research is exploring immune microenvironment in different myeloid neoplasms.

Michael Mancini, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology; Director, Integrated Microscopy Core
*The Mancini lab uses high resolution light microscopy, time lapse studies, and biophysical measurements of nuclear protein mobility to develop single cell assays to study the activity of steroid receptors and receptor co-regulators in breast and prostate cancer cells.

Richard Sifers, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Pathology and Immunology
*Professor Sifers is interested in ERManl regulation and delineating its participation in the etiology of the liver disease.

Xiaolong Jiang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neuroscience
*Dr. Li’s lab focuses on the cortical microcircuit and has developed several approaches and techniques to profile the individual neurons in the cortical microcircuit.

David Corry, M.D., Professor, Dept. of Medicine
*Dr. Corry’s research focuses on immunology, allergy, and rheumatology with interests in asthma, cytokine receptors, T cells, airway physiology, and proteases.

Arvind Chandrakantan, M.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anesthesiology at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Bingning Dong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology
*Dr. Dong’s research investigates the mechanisms that regulate liver energy metabolism and liver cancer development.

Mira Jeong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (STaR)
*The STaR Center focuses on facilitating stem cell research of all types, and the clinical translation of such research into regenerative medicine.

Jianchang Yang, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
*Dr. Jiang’s interests are in: cardiac progenitor regulation and direct cellular reprogramming, epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression, hematopoietic stem cell regulation, embryonic stem cells, and generation of patient-specific pluripotent progenitor cells for clinical therapies.

Lynn Zechiedrich, Ph.D., Professor and Josephin Morrow Chair, Dept. of Molecular Virology and Microbiology
*The Zechiedrich laboratory is exploring how supercoiling affects DNA activity and regulation. They have developed minivectors for nucleic acid delivery and are currently developing them for treating human diseases.

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