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. 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.
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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.
Jeffrey Cadeddu, M.D.
Jeffrey Cadeddu, M.D., received his B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and in 1993 received his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also completed his urology and surgery residencies. He then joined The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1999, and currently holds the dual appointments of Professor of Urology and Professor of Radiology. In addition, he holds the Ralph C. Smith, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery, and serves as the Director of the Clinical Center for Minimally Invasive Urologic Cancer Treatment. His affiliations include membership in the American Urological Association, the Endourological Society, the Society for Urologic Oncology, Texas Urological Society, and the Engineering and Urology Society. He currently serves as Associate or Assistant Editor on behalf of the Journal of Endourology, World Journal of Urology, and the Journal of Medical Robotics Research, and serves as a Survey Section Editor for the Journal of Urology. His publications include over 240 peer-reviewed articles; over 75 invited articles and book chapters; numerous editorial comments, book reviews, and original videos. He is the recipient of the American Urological Association’s 2007 Gold Cystoscope Award. He was elected to active membership in the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons (AAGUS) and has served as co-president of the Engineering and Urology Society. He has also served as a panel member for the AUA small renal mass and localized prostate cancer guidelines.
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Kenneth Chen, M.D.
Kenneth Chen, M.D., received his B.S.E. in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and his M.D. from UT Southwestern. He then completed a pediatric residency and pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at UT Southwestern, where he joined the laboratory of James F. Amatruda as an Instructor. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Children's Medical Center Research Institute and an Attending Physician in the Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. As a physician-scientist, he divides his time between his research laboratory and Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, where he specializes in the care of children with cancer and blood disorders. His research interests in the laboratory focus on understanding the genetic drivers of childhood cancers, especially Wilms tumor and germ cell tumors, and new strategies for treating them.
Alana Christie, M.S.
Alana Christie, M.S., received her degree in biostatistics from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 2011. She then joined the Biostatistics Shared Resource at UT Southwestern as one of the statistical consultants for researchers in the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her assistance has led to over 35 peer-reviewed publications, including more than 10 focused on kidney cancer research. Her current focus is aiding in the creation of a web portal for analyzing clinical, pathological, and treatment information from patients treated at UT Southwestern, as well as with the process of moving Brugarolas Lab specimen data to an online management system.
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 Professor, Robert L. Moody Faculty Scholar, and 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. Dr. DeBerardinis was named an Outstanding Investigator by the National Cancer Institute in 2017, and a Faculty Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2016.
Roy Elias, M.D.
Roy Elias, M.D., received his B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of South Florida, and his M.D. from the University of Miami. He began his residency in Internal Medicine in 2017 at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He was selected to participate in the inaugural TARDIS class, a research-intensive training program, and joined the UTSW faculty as an Assistant Instructor in 2019. Dr. Elias’ research interests include immunotherapy in renal cell carcinoma. He is currently developing organoid models of RCC that maintain immune components, allowing for ex vivo interrogation of the cancer-immune interface. Dr. Elias facilitates medical student, resident, and fellow research with the Kidney Cancer Program, and is an organizer of the KCP’s annual retreat.
Hans Hammers, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Leader, Clinical Research
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.
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Co-Leader, Radiation Oncology
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.
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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.
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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.
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Tao Wang, Ph.D.
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.
Renee McKay, Ph.D.
Director, Research Administration
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.
Michelle earned her B.A. and B.F.A. from Southern Methodist University. She is an experienced marketing communications professional with a broad agency and corporate background honed from working in the financial services, consumer products, hospitality, and commercial real estate sectors. She became involved in the cancer community several years ago, volunteering as a patient advocate with breast cancer organizations including the Young Survival Coalition and Living Beyond Breast Cancer/LBBC.org, as well as the National Cancer Institute’s Council of Research Advocates. She joined the KCP as the Director of Communications in March of 2019.
Senior Administrative Assistant
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.
Dr. Brugarolas is the inaugural chair of the programmatic panel of the Congressionally-directed Kidney Cancer Research Program. He is also a member of the Renal Task Force of the Scientific Steering Committee for the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Enterprise.
Dr. Amatruda serves as Chair of the Germ Cell Tumor Biology and Rare Tumors Biology committees in the Children’s Oncology Group, a national organization that treats every pediatric patient in the U.S. affected by germ-cell tumors.
Dr. Cadeddu is a member of the American Urological Association panel that sets guidelines for the management of renal masses.
Dr. Courtney is a member of the Genitourinary Committee of the ECOG-ACRIN cancer research group.
Dr. Hammers is a member of the Renal Task Force of the Scientific Steering Committee for the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Enterprise.
Dr. Hannan is a member of the Renal Task Force of the Scientific Steering Committee for the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Enterprise.
Dr. Kapur is a member of the Renal Task Force of the Scientific Steering Committee for the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Enterprise.
Dr. Pedrosa is a member of the Renal Task Force of the Scientific Steering Committee for the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Enterprise, the Genitourinary Committee of the ECOG-ACRIN cancer research group, and the Renal Cell Carcinoma Disease-Focused Panel of the Society of Abdominal Radiology.
Dr. Zhou is a member of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (Kidney Cancer), the College of American Pathologists Cancer Committee, and primary author of genitourinary cancer protocols.