Green Center Faculty

The Green Center includes faculty with primary and secondary appointments in the Center, as well as additional affiliated members from a variety of other departments across campus.

Our faculty work in wide areas related to signaling, gene regulation, and nuclear function in reproduction, development, metabolism, cancer, inflammation, and stem cells.

Primary, Secondary, and Adjunct Green Center Faculty

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Laura Banaszynski, Ph.D.

Photograph of Laura Banaszynski

Assistant Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, and Obstetrics and Gynecology
Laboratory: Banaszynski Lab
laura.banaszynski@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: Dr. Banaszynski studies epigenetic contributions to gene expression and genome stability in mammalian systems. Her research focuses on the dynamic regulation of chromatin states at both coding and non-coding regions including the influence of histone variant incorporation on histone post-translational modification states. Her long-term goal is to improve our understanding of the chromatin-based mechanisms regulating fundamental cell-fate decisions in pluripotency and differentiation that are essential to our understanding of developmental processes.

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Cristel Camacho, Ph.D.

Photograph of Cristel Camacho

Assistant Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Laboratory: Camacho Lab
cristel.camacho@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: Characterizing the molecular basis of breast cancer phenotypes with an emphasis on PARP biology. Understanding how estrogen signaling is modulated by PARP-1, and molecular mechanisms of PARP-1-mediated ADP-ribosylation of transcription factors.

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Haiqi Chen, Ph.D.

Photograph of Haiqi Chen

Assistant Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Laboratory: Chen Lab
haiqi.chen@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: Our research focuses on understanding the molecular regulation of gametogenesis, mechanisms of transgenerational inheritance, and the etiology and treatment of infertility. To accomplish them, we develop and apply a suite of interdisciplinary approaches, including cutting-edge spatial -omics technologies, CRISPR-based functional genomics, single cell -omics technologies, and bioinformatics.

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Ed Grow, Ph.D.

Photograph of Edward Grow

Assistant Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences
Laboratory: Grow Lab
edward.grow@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: Our research focuses on the how the early embryo transitions from global transcriptional quiescence to activation during a process called Embryonic Genome Activation (EGA). This cell identity change involves chromatin reprogramming to prepare for the transcriptome remodeling that is largely driven by egg components. Additionally, we study folliculogenesis in an effort to understand how the oocyte prepares for EGA after fertilization. We utilize human and animal embryos along with in vitro stem cell models. Currently, we leverage genome-wide approaches and single-cell techniques.

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Joshua Gruber, M.D., Ph.D.

Photograph of Joshua Gruber

Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Hematology-Oncology Division, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences
Laboratory: Gruber Lab
joshua.gruber@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: We seek to understand growth control pathways in human cancer and how to manipulate them for therapeutic benefits. We have focused projects on targeting chromatin synthesis for cancer therapy, and a related project on immunoreceptors overexpressed in breast cancer. We seek to develop new methods and technologies by engineering genomes, epigenomes, cells and chemicals.

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Gary Hon, Ph.D.

Photograph of Gary Hon

Associate Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology
Laboratory: Hon Lab
gary.hon@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: The Hon lab seeks to understand the genetic determinants of cell state. We focus on two key questions: 1) What are the principles of cell state engineering? and 2) How do non-coding genetic variants impact cell state and disease risk? We explore these questions using a systems biology approach: developing integrative approaches at the interface of gene regulation, epigenetics, single-cell genomics, and bioinformatics. Our work has applications in understanding the genetic basis of disease and engineering cells for regenerative medicine. 

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W. Lee Kraus, Ph.D. 

Photograph of Lee Kraus

Director and Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Pharmacology
Laboratory: Kraus Lab
lee.kraus@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: Mechanisms of nuclear signaling and gene regulation by small molecules and the relationship of these signaling pathways to human diseases. Our focus is on two distinct, but probably related, nuclear signaling pathways controlled by estrogens and NAD.

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Xin Liu, Ph.D.

Photograph of Xin Liu

Associate Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, Biophysics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Laboratory: Liu Lab
xin.liu@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: The overarching goal of the Liu lab is to understand the cellular regulation of dynamic chromatin structure in both normal and diseased cells. The Liu lab is particularly interested in elucidating structure and function of large chromatin complexes that regulate epigenetic inheritance and cell fate determination during development. To achieve the research goal, the Liu lab leverages a combination of a series of advanced research tools, including biochemical reconstitution (e.g. protein-protein, protein-nucleosome, and protein-non-coding RNA complexes), X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM, proteomics, and genomics by next-generation sequencing.

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Mala Mahendroo, Ph.D.

Photograph of Mala Mahendroo

Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences
Laboratory: Mahendroo Lab
mala.mahendroo@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: My research interests include an understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which the cervix remodels during pregnancy, parturition and postpartum to allow birth and subsequent recovery of the cervix to the nonpregnant state. Our focus is on understanding the contribution of the extracellular matrix, immune cells, and cervical cells to this process and their regulation during all phases of cervical remodeling.

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Carole Mendelson, Ph.D.

Photograph of Carole Mendelson

Professor, Biochemistry, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences
Laboratory: Mendelson Lab
carole.mendelson@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that mediate expression of specific genes in a tissue- and cell-specific manner, that activate gene expression at distinct phases of embryonic development, and modulate their expression by hormones and second messengers.

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Ben Sabari, Ph.D.

Photograph of Benjamin Sabari

Assistant Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, Molecular Biology, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Laboratory: Sabari Lab
benjamin.sabari@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: Our primary goal is to understand how the gene control machinery is organized within the nucleus. We study how nuclear condensates form at specific genomic loci, how they function once formed, and how they are misappropriated in disease. The lab will focus on the roles of protein disorder, regulatory DNA element clustering, non-coding RNA, and active processes in regulating nuclear condensate formation and function.

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Hume Stroud, Ph.D.

Photograph of Hume Stroud

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences
Laboratory: Stroud Lab
hume.akahoristroud@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Our lab investigates epigenome regulation in health and disease. Epigenetic mechanisms control genes and genomes without altering the DNA sequence. We are particularly interested in understanding how disruption of these mechanisms lead to neurological disorders.

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Jennifer Woo, Ph.D., CNM/WHNP, FACNM

Photograph of Jennifer Woo

Adjunct Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences; Assistant Professor of Nursing, Texas Woman's University
jennifer.woo@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: I aim to: (Aim 1) Explore differential gene expression of immune cell genes between (1) women with preterm birth and women with term birth; and (2) women with vitamin D deficiency and women with vitamin D sufficiency; and (Aim 2) Examine the pathways by which racial discrimination, depressive symptoms, plasma 25(OH)D, VDBP genotype, differentially expressed genes (identified in Aim 1), and systemic inflammation relate to gestational age at birth.

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Affiliated Members

 

Michael Buszczak, Ph.D.
Molecular Biology
Laboratory: Buszczak Lab
Michael.Buszczak@UTSouthwestern.edu
Research: The Buszczak lab studies several Drosophila stem cells lineages as a model for understanding how cells adopt different fates. The long-term goal is to determine the complete regulatory network that controls both the maintenance of Drosophila stem cells and the differentiation of their daughters. We hope to use this information as a foundation for understanding how perturbations in normal gene expression programs cause disease.

Diego Castrillon, M.D., Ph.D.
Pathology
Laboratory: Castrillon Lab
diego.castrillon@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Dr. Castrillon's research lab is focused on endometrial cancer, with an eye on prevention, earlier and more accurate diagnosis, improved treatments, and better overall patient outcomes. Dr. Castrillon and colleagues employ diverse research methods, such as massively parallel DNA sequencing, together with other sophisticated genetic model systems, to understand the complex molecular interactions controlling endometrial cell growth, which—when subverted—result in endometrial cancer.

Cheng-Ming Chiang, Ph.D.
Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center
Laboratory: Chiang Lab
cheng-ming.chiang@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Epigenetic control of gene regulation, mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in mammalian cells and in human papillomaviruses, and posttranslational modification of protein function.

Nicholas Conrad, Ph.D.
Microbiology
Laboratory: Conrad Lab
nicholas.conrad@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: The overarching goal of the Conrad lab is to understand the posttranscriptional mechanisms of gene expression and regulation in the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and in its human host cell. We are particularly focused on the mechanisms that regulate nuclear RNA stability, polyadenylation, export, and intron retention by viral and by host cell factors.

Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.
Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UTSW
Laboratory: DeBerardinis Lab
ralph.deberardinis@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: The DeBerardinis laboratory studies the role of altered metabolic pathways in human diseases, including cancer and pediatric inborn errors of metabolism. The lab pioneered the use of metabolomics and isotope tracing to characterize disease-associated metabolic states directly in patients. We use disease-relevant model systems to explore how metabolic perturbations contribute to tissue dysfunction.

Ivan D'Orso, Ph.D.
Microbiology
Laboratory: D'Orso Lab
ivan.dorso@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: The D’Orso laboratory studies mechanisms of gene regulation in the context of human health and disease. One major area has been the elucidation of mechanisms of HIV-1 transcriptional control including the roles of integration landscape, epigenomics, T cell signaling, transcription factors and non-coding RNAs. A second major area has been the definition of how tumor suppressors control gene regulatory processes to prevent cancer initiation and progression. Our overall mission is to define basic principles that can be exploited in the clinics.

Joel Elmquist, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine
Laboratory: Elmquist Lab
joel.elmquist@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Dr. Elmquist's research focuses on identifying the pathways in the brain regulating body weight and glucose homeostasis. Toward these goals, Dr. Elmquist and colleagues have developed several mouse models that allow specific manipulation of key genes regulating energy balance and glucose homeostasis.

Maria Florian-Rodriguez, M.D.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
maria.florian-rodriguez@utsouthwestern.edu

Christina Herrera, M.D.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
christina.herrera@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Dr. Herrera’s current research seeks to understand the placenta in healthy and diseased states. She is currently using novel magnetic resonance imaging and genomic techniques for longitudinal assessment of placenta structure and function in healthy women and women with chronic hypertension. Her multidisciplinary research includes partners in Radiology, Pathology, Pediatrics and Bioengineering in addition to the Green Center. She is also working to develop first trimester sonographic assessment of the decidua basalis, the precursor to the placenta, for prediction of placenta accreta spectrum disorders.

Ralf Kittler, Ph.D.
Eugene McDermott Center for Growth and Development
Laboratory: Kittler Lab
ralf.kittler@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: The Kittler lab is studying cancer-specific genetic programs, which are key for the development of new diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic strategies. We combine analyses of the genomic binding sites (ChIP-Seq) of cancer-relevant transcription factors, epigenetic, gene expression, and clinical outcome data to make specific predictions about the role of transcription factors and functional interaction of multiple transcription factors in the regulation of cancer-relevant gene networks. 

Glen Liszczak, Ph.D.
Biochemistry
Laboratory: Liszczak Lab
glen.liszczak@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: The Liszczak lab combines synthetic protein chemistry with biochemical, biophysical and cellular platforms to decipher how aberrant protein post-translational modification activities and enigmatic missense mutations give rise to human disease.

Ram Madabhushi, Ph.D.
Psychiatry
Laboratory: Madabhushi Lab
ram.madabhushi@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Research in the Madabhushi lab attempts to understand how genome stability and chromatin dynamics affect neuronal functions, including learning behaviors, and how disruption of these processes leads to the development of neurological diseases and cancer. We have developed new methods to assess genome-wide distribution of torsional stress, which provides the impetus for key chromatin structural changes following neuronal activity, new methods to map genome-wide hotspots of topoisomerases, which manage torsional stress within the genome, and assays to assess the mechanisms and repair fidelity of activity-induced DSBs. The insights gained from these studies has significant applications for understanding how chromatin configuration shapes neuronal functions in the context of the aging brain, in neurological disorders, such as addiction and neuropsychiatric disorders, and also the mechanisms that lead to recurrent gene fusions in a variety of cancers.

David Mangelsdorf, Ph.D.
Pharmacology
Laboratory: Mangelsdorf/Kliewer Lab
davo.mango@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: The Mangelsdorf/Kliewer lab studies nuclear receptor regulation of metabolism and cancer. Recent studies have elucidated two endocrine signaling pathways mediated by fibroblast growth factors that govern fasting and feeding.

Elisabeth Martinez, Ph.D.
Pharmacology
Laboratory: Martinez Lab
elisabeth.martinez@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: The Martinez lab has a dual interest: defining the function of epigenetic enzymes and developing chemical tools to modulate their function. This combined strategy simultaneously advances basic knowledge and generates chemical probes with therapeutic potential. Their main interest is to molecularly define and pharmacologically target the pathological epigenetic and transcriptional events that characterize cancers and other human diseases, while uncovering new biology. In recent years, their research has focused on Jumonji histone demethylase enzymes. Within the context of cancer, her group has discovered novel roles for Jumonji enzymes in transcriptional adaptation and reprogramming, in the development of chemotherapy resistance, in DNA repair pathways and in the response to radiation therapy in multiple tumor types. These findings have important implications for disease treatment, opening new options for overcoming and preventing therapeutic resistance. The small molecule inhibitors they develop have in vivo efficacy without toxicity and have been excellent tools worldwide for gaining mechanistic insights into the Jumonji-driven molecular events driving cancer. In addition to chemical biology and drug discovery, her lab uses genetic, molecular and genomic approaches to understand the underlying biology and catalytic activity of these complex enzymes which integrate metabolic cellular status with epigenetic and transcriptional outputs.

Joshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D.
Molecular Biology
Laboratory: Mendell Lab
joshua.mendell@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: The Mendell laboratory studies mechanisms of post-transcriptional gene regulation and the roles of these pathways in mammalian physiology and disease. A particular focus of our research is the role of noncoding RNAs, including microRNAs and long noncoding RNAs, in these gene regulatory pathways. Our laboratory employs high throughput screening as well as biochemical, cellular, and animal models to interrogate these pathways.

Nikhil Munshi, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine
Laboratory: Munshi Lab
nikhil.munshi@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Our lab studies transcriptional control of cardiac rhythm, reprogramming, and development. We use both focused mechanistic analysis and unbiased genomic approaches to study the fundamental underpinnings of terminal lineage commitment in mouse and human developmental systems. Overall, we aim to leverage these insights to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for cardiovascular disease.

Eric Olson, Ph.D.
Molecular Biology
Laboratory: Olson Lab
eric.olson@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Our lab studies muscle cells as a model for understanding how embryonic cells adopt specific fates, and how programs of cell differentiation and morphogenesis are controlled during development. We have focused on discovering novel transcription factors and extracellular signals, as well as novel transcription factors that control development of these muscle cell types and remodeling in response to cardiovascular and neuromuscular diseases.

David Owen, M.D., Ph.D.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
david.owen@utsouthwestern.edu

Ganesh Raj, M.D., Ph.D.
Urology
Laboratory: Raj Lab
ganesh.raj@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: The Raj laboratory focuses on deciphering the mechanisms of resistance to hormonal therapies in prostate and breast cancers, the development and validation of drugs targeting the nuclear receptors in prostate and breast cancer, molecular characterization of hormone dependent signaling pathways in prostate and breast cancers, as well as the understanding mechanisms of radiation resistance in prostate cancers, and ex vivo development of primary cancer models that maintain the critical signaling pathways to dissect the biology of individual cancers and predict responsiveness to therapeutics.

Philip Shaul, M.D.
Pediatrics
Laboratory: Shaul/Mineo Lab
philip.shaul@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Our lab is primarily engaged in endothelial cell biology. Our overall goal is to identify the molecular components, the protein-protein interactions, the regulatory events occurring within signaling modules on the plasma membrane which dictate endothelial cell phenotype, and the propensity for vascular disease. Investigations are performed in cell culture models and in both in vitro and in vivo reconstitution systems in genetically modified mice.

Yingfei Wang, Ph.D.
Pathology
Laboratory: Yingfei Wang Lab
yingfei.wang@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Our lab mainly studies 1) biological functions and cell signaling regulation of PARPs in brain and cancers, 2) mitochondrial dysfunction in development and neurological diseases. Our overall goals are to identify novel therapeutic targets and translate the knowledge to protect neuronal cells but enhance cancer cell death.

Jiang Wu, Ph.D.
Physiology
Laboratory: Jiang Wu Lab
jiang9.wu@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: We are interested in chromatin regulation of signaling pathways important for neural development, brain tumor growth, and autism pathogenesis. Our research currently focuses on two areas: (1) Chromatin remodeling of neuronal activity-induced genes and its function in autistic disorders, and (2) Epigenetic regulation of SHH signaling, cerebellar development, and medulloblastoma.

Jun Wu, Ph.D.
Molecular Biology
Laboratory: Jun Wu Lab
jun2.wu@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are powerful tools to model development and disease, and hold tremendous promise for regenerative medicine and reproductive biology. My lab mainly focuses on using pluripotent stem cell models to gain novel insights in development and develop translational applications. The central directions of my lab include 1) derive novel pluripotent stem cells and study novel regulators of pluripotency, 2) identify and overcome the xenogeneic barrier for interspecies organogenesis, and 3) generate stem cell-based models of mammalian embryos.

Jian Xu, Ph.D.
Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UTSW
Laboratory: Jian Xu Lab
jian.xu@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Our goal is to better understand the gene regulatory processes that control stem cell development and cancers. We employ interdisciplinary approaches including molecular biology, genome engineering, disease modeling, single cell technology, and computational biology to discover new mechanisms in gene regulation and genome sciences.

Qing Zhang, Ph.D.
Pathology
Laboratory: Qing Zhang Lab
qing.zhang@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Zhang lab is interested in studying gene regulation involved in oxygen sensing signaling related to development and cancer progression. We are implementing novel genome-wide screening approaches to identify important pathways that contribute to dysregulated gene regulation important in diseases. In addition, we also have broad interests on studying protein post-translational modifications important in oxygen sensing signaling pathways.

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