James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D.

Program Leader

James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D.

James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D., received his medical degree from the University of Navarra, Spain (1993), and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1998). He trained in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center and completed a fellowship in oncology at a combined program of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital in 2003. He was an instructor at Harvard Medical School until 2006, when he was recruited by UT Southwestern Medical Center to create a program in kidney cancer. Discoveries from his laboratory have led to a new classification of kidney cancer, the identification of a new familial kidney cancer syndrome, the discovery of determinants of tumor aggressiveness, and the development of the first animal model to reproduce the genetics, biology, and treatment responsiveness of kidney cancer in patients.

Dr. Brugarolas, a professor of Internal Medicine, Cancer Biology, Genetics, Development and Disease, is the Principal Investigator of one of two Specialized Programs of Research Excellence in kidney cancer in the U.S. He holds the Sherry Wigley Crow Cancer Research Endowed Chair in Honor of Robert Lewis Kirby, M.D., and is a member of the Renal Task Force of the Genitourinary Steering Committee of the National Cancer Institute and the Chair of the Programmatic and Vision Setting Panel of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program in Kidney Cancer. Dr. Brugarolas, an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, has received numerous awards including a V Scholar Award (V Foundation), a Research Scholar Award (American Cancer Society), and a Claudia Adams Barr Award for Innovative Cancer Research (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School). He has served on advisory boards of kidney cancer and SPORE programs at several NCI-designated cancer centers and on study sections and ad hoc review panels of the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the U.S. Army Medical Research Command.

James Amatruda, M.D., Ph.D.

Co-Leader, Pediatrics

James Amatruda, M.D., Ph.D.

James F. Amatruda, M.D., Ph.D., received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He then completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the combined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Massachusetts General Hospital Program. In 2005 he joined the faculty at UT Southwestern, where he is Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Biology, and Internal Medicine, and an attending physician in the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Dr. Amatruda holds the Nearburg Family Professorship in Pediatric Oncology Research. His laboratory studies the biologic basis of childhood genitourinary cancers, including germ cell tumors and Wilms tumors of the kidney, using a combination of genomic analysis and zebrafish genetic models.

Bijal Balasubramanian, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.

Co-Leader, Epidemiology

Bijal Balasubramanian, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.

Bijal Balasubramanian, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., completed her medical training in 1996 at the University of Pune, N.D.M.V.P. Samaj’s Medical College (Nashik, India). In 2008, she received a Ph.D. from the Rutgers School of Public Health. Currently, she is a faculty member in the Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Science at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. Her expertise is in the application of epidemiological and mixed-methods research to understand determinants of quality of health care; she has a particular interest in cancer.

Richard Bruick, Ph.D.

Co-Leader, Basic Research

Richard Bruick, Ph.D.

Richard Bruick, Ph.D., received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1991) and a Ph.D. in macromolecular and cellular structure and chemistry from Scripps Research Institute (1998). After postdoctoral training with Steve McKnight, Ph.D., he joined the faculty at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Bruick has made fundamental discoveries about the regulation of HIF-2 leading to the development of a HIF-2 inhibitor.

Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.

Co-Leader, Metabolism

Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.

Ralph J. DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D., is a medical geneticist with clinical and research interests in the role of altered metabolic states in disease. He is currently Associate Professor and the Joel B. Steinberg, M.D. Chair in Pediatrics at the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The DeBerardinis laboratory uses metabolomics, metabolic flux analysis, and molecular imaging to probe metabolic pathway utilization in two classes of human disease: cancer and childhood inborn errors of metabolism. The lab's goal is to capitalize on altered metabolic states to better understand pathophysiology and to develop new ways to detect, monitor, and treat these conditions.

Hans Hammers, M.D., Ph.D.

Co-Leader, Clinical Research

Hans Hammers, M.D., Ph.D.

Hans Hammers, M.D., Ph.D., received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Lubeck in Germany. He completed his residency training in the Johns Hopkins medical system and completed his fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. He led the kidney cancer research efforts at Johns Hopkins as an Assistant Professor and contributed greatly to the development of immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors in kidney cancer. His work in immunotherapy has been nationally recognized, and he has been the principal investigator on several industry- and investigator-sponsored trials. In June 2016, Dr. Hammers joined the faculty at UT Southwestern, where he is Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and co-leader of Clinical Research of the KCP. His research interest is in developing novel immunotherapies for kidney cancer. Dr. Hammers is the inaugural recipient of the Eugene P. Frenkel Scholar Award.

Raquibul Hannan, M.D., Ph.D.

Co-Leader, Radiation Oncology

Dr. Raquibul Hannan

Raquibul Hannan, M.D., Ph.D., is a graduate of the medical scientist training program at the State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, where his Ph.D. dissertation focused on tumor immunology in pancreatic carcinogenesis. After completing his internship in internal medicine at the same institution, he subsequently completed a residency in radiation oncology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He joined the Department of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2010. Currently, Dr. Hannan’s focus in the clinic is to treat kidney cancer patients with a type of highly focused radiation known as stereotactic radiation therapy. His research interest is in understanding and exploiting the immune-modulatory properties of radiation therapy for kidney cancer treatment, both by performing preclinical laboratory studies as well as designing clinical trials.

Payal Kapur, M.D.

Co-Leader, Pathology

Payal Kapur

Payal Kapur, M.D., is the Medical Director of Pathology at Parkland Health & Hospital System and the reference GU pathologist at UT Southwestern. Dr. Kapur completed her medical education at the University College of Medical Sciences (New Delhi, India) in 1997. She trained in pathology at both Maulana Azad Medical College and UT Southwestern Medical Center. Her research is focused on characterizing adult genitourinary tumors and the development of diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers. She is responsible for developing a clinical test to evaluate the status of BAP1 and PBRM1 in renal cancer, which underlies a modern classification of the disease.

Ivan Pedrosa, M.D., Ph.D.

Co-Leader, Radiology

Ivan Pedrosa

Ivan Pedrosa, M.D., Ph.D., is the Director of MRI imaging at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Pedrosa received his medical degree from Universidad Complutense (Spain, 1994) and completed residency training at Hospital Universitario San Carlos in radiology. He did fellowships at Jackson Memorial and Beth Israel Deaconess hospitals and joined UT Southwestern in 2011. He is an internationally recognized expert in kidney cancer and serves on the National Cancer Institute's Renal Cancer Task Force. He has implemented protocols for the evaluation of localized and metastatic kidney tumors and runs an NIH-funded translational research program that applies novel MRI techniques for the phenotypic characterization of renal tumors to assess histological subtype, nuclear grade, and angiogenesis.

Arthur Sagalowsky, M.D.

Co-Leader, Urology

Arthur Sagalowsky, M.D.

Arthur I. Sagalowsky, M.D., received his medical degree from Indiana University Medical School (1973), where he continued his training in general surgery (1973-1975) and urology (1975-1978). Subsequently, he was an American Urological Association Research Scholar and a postdoctoral research fellow in clinical pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center (1978-1980). In 1980, he joined the faculty in Urology, where he rose through the ranks to Professor. He is engaged in full-time academic practice of urologic oncology and has vast surgical experience in the management of patients with locally advanced and complex kidney cancers. He has actively participated in clinical trials and translational research in kidney cancer for more than 33 years.

Tao Wang, Ph.D.

Co-Leader, Bioinformatics

Tao Wang

Tao Wang, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. degree in bioinformatics, biostatistics, and computational biology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2015. After graduation, he joined the faculty at Quantitative Biomedical Research Center of UT Southwestern as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Wang's research revolves around developing and applying state-of-the-art quantitative approaches to study the different levels of heterogeneity observed in kidney cancer and the implications for tumorigenesis, metastasis, prognosis, and treatment response.

Xian-Jin Xie, Ph.D.

Co-Leader, Statistics

Xian-Jin Xie

Xian-Jin Xie, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Clinical Science and Director of the Biostatistics Shared Resource in the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Xie received his bachelor’s degree from Peking University in China and his Ph.D. in biostatistics as well as a Master’s degree in neurobiology from the University of Iowa. He joined UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2005. Dr. Xie’s research focuses on biostatistical methodologies and the application of those methodologies to collaborative research between biomedical and clinical disciplines. He has been the Director of the Data Analytics Core for the Kidney Cancer Program since its inception in 2013.


Renee McKay, Ph.D.

Director, KCP Research Administration

Renee McKay, Ph.D.

Renée McKay, Ph.D., obtained a B.A. in sociology and a B.S. in biology from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. She received her Ph.D. in biological sciences from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. She did her postdoctoral training with Jonathan Graff at UT Southwestern Medical Center where she studied adipogenesis using mouse models. She has been the Director of Research Administration for the Kidney Cancer Program since its inception in September 2013.

Avery Anderson

Director, KCP Communications

Avery Anderson

Avery Anderson is the Director of Communications for UT Southwestern’s Kidney Cancer Program. The native Texan is back in her hometown of Dallas after being a Reporter/Anchor at the NBC affiliate in Wichita, KS and as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter for the CBS affiliate in Abilene, TX. She attended the University of Texas at Arlington as a Division 1 student-athlete and graduated Cum Laude with her degree in broadcast/journalism.

Debra Harvey

Senior Administrative Assistant

Debra Harvey

Debra Harvey is the Sr. Administrative Assistant for Dr. Brugarolas, and joined the Kidney Cancer Program in May of 2015. She was raised in Ft. Worth, Texas, and attended The University of North Texas where she received a Business degree. She was previously with the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University for 18 years before joining the KCP.