Nearly 25 scholar-physicians are part of the Disease-Oriented Clinical Scholars (DOCS) Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Todd Aguilera, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Interest: Understanding and effectively targeting factors that render tumors and metastases resistant to the immune system and conventional therapy is critical to improving long-term outcomes in cancer patients. We study gastrointestinal cancers to develop new therapeutic approaches to improve anti-tumor immune responses and then aim to translate approaches to clinical trials. This approach combined with deep assessment of patient tissues could result in discoveries and improved outcomes that are much needed.
Aguilera Lab website
Jeffrey Browning, M.D.
Professor and Chair
Clinical Nutrition and Internal Medicine
Research Interest: Understanding metabolic derangements that lead to fatty liver disease, through the application of advanced imaging, and metabolic techniques.
Ezra Burstein, M.D.
Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology
Research Interest: Understanding the regulation of the inflammatory response at a molecular level, and elucidating how these events may participate in human disease. We are particularly interested in pathways that regulate inflammation in the gastrointestinal mucosa, and their potential role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease.
Burstein Lab website
Kenneth Chen, M.D.
Pediatrics and Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern
Research Interest: How mutations in childhood kidney cancer regulate tumor formation and progression at a molecular level, especially mutations that affect microRNA processing.
Stephen Chung, M.D.
Internal Medicine and Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern
Research Interest: Understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate normal and malignant hematopoiesis, with a goal of identifying novel therapeutic vulnerabilities in myeloid malignancies such as the myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia. In particular, we are interested in utilizing novel dysregulated cell surface antigens to study the cell of origin in these diseases. Areas of interest also include understanding the role of dysregulated translation in disease stem cells, as well as understanding the relationships between hematopoietic stem cell aging, clonal hematopoiesis, and myeloid malignancies.
Benjamin Drapkin, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Interest: We study small cell lung cancer (SCLC), with a particular focus on how this disease acquires cross-resistance to chemotherapy after relapse. In parallel, we investigate how non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can transform into SCLC when treated with oncogene-targeted therapies.
Luke Engelking, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine, Molecular Genetics and Center for Human Nutrition
Research Interest: Elucidating the roles of lipids in the control of epithelial homeostasis of the digestive tract, and revealing how particular lipids, such as cholesterol, contribute to human diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal cancers. We have a particular focus on the transcriptional regulation of intestinal lipid biosynthesis by SREBPs, a critically important family of transcription factors that controls cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body.
Jennifer Gill, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Interest: Our research focuses on understanding the molecular and metabolic mechanisms that regulate melanoma tumor behavior. We are particularly interested in applying this knowledge to patient samples in order to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
Joshua Gruber, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine, Green Center for Reproductive Bio Sciences
Research Interest: Our goal is to develop new therapies for breast cancer through investigation of molecular mechanisms that control tumor cell growth and immunity. We are focused on chromatin pathways that control DNA compaction and also tumor immune receptors that reprogram the tumor microenvironment. Our long-term goal is to move new therapies from our laboratory into the clinic for patients.
The Gruber Lab website
Tamia Harris-Tryon, M.D., Ph.D.
Dermatology and Immunology
Research Interest: Skin is the largest organ in the body and harbors bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites on the surface and within skin appendages. Using a range of experimental approaches, we investigate the interactions between skin bacteria and the immune system. The goal of our research group is to gain a greater understanding of how bacteria on the skin surface affect skin health and diseases.
Harris-Tryon Lab website
Sarah Huen, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine and Pharmacology
Research Interest: Understanding how metabolic adaptation can promote survival and tissue protection during inflammatory states such as sepsis. We are particularly interested in understanding the role and regulation of kidney metabolism in health and disease.
Huen Lab website
Lu Le, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Interest: Dr. Le’s scientific work bridges the fields of Cancer Biology, Developmental Biology, and Stem Cell Biology that focus on identification of the tumor cells of origin and investigating how genetic and tumor microenvironmental factors interplay to regulate cancer development.
Le Lab website
Lenette Lu, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine and Immunology
Research Interest: We are interested in how the landscape of humoral immunity mediates host microbial interactions. More specifically, in tuberculosis we see divergent immunoglobulin profiles and functions in individuals with different states of infection and disease. Our goal is to delineate the mechanisms by which antibody features and effector functions modulate the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and impact these host outcomes, with implications in biomarker and vaccine development.
Ravikanth Maddipati, M.D.
Internal Medicine and Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern
Research Interest: Our focus is to understand how cellular and molecular heterogeneity develops and impacts normal tissue growth, tumor formation, metastatic progression, and therapy resistance. We are particularly interested in pancreatic cancer and employ novel murine models, screening tools, and informatics based approaches to address these fundamental questions.
Maddipati Lab website
David McFadden, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine and Biochemistry
Research Interest: The McFadden lab uses genetically engineered mice and human cancer cells to identify new genes and small molecules that regulate cancer cell growth. Current projects involve Ewing sarcoma, thyroid cancer, and small cell lung cancer.
McFadden Lab website
Nikhil Munshi, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine, Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth & Development and Molecular Biology
Research Interest: Transcriptional and epigenetic control of cardiac rhythm; lineage conversion and cardiac pacemaker reprogramming; regeneration of cardiac rhythm.
Munshi Lab website
Evan Nair-Gill, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine, Center for Genetics of Host Defense
Research Interest: Our lab uses forward genetic screening in mice to identify new genes that control mammalian immune homeostasis. We combine immunological, biochemical, and imaging approaches with transcriptome and proteome analyses to reveal how these genes work at the cellular level and in the context of systemic immune responses. The overarching goal of our investigations is to define therapeutic targets that enable precise manipulation of the immune system to treat autoimmune diseases and cancer while preserving beneficial immune function.
Center for Genetics of Host Defense website
Deepak Nijhawan, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine and Biochemistry
Research Interest: We aim to discover the mechanism of action for small molecules with anti-cancer activity. Using this approach, we expect to unveil new biological pathways, and in some cases, provide lead molecules for therapeutic development.
Nijhawan Lab website
Suraj Patel, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine, Center for Human Nutrition
Research Interest: Our research focuses on understanding hepatic metabolism and how dysregulation of it contributes to obesity and insulin resistance. Our ultimate goal is to leverage this understanding to develop new therapies for improving the metabolic health of patients.
Center for Human Nutrition website
Sangeetha Reddy, M.D.
Research Interest: Our research focus is to target the tumor immune microenvironment of breast cancers and develop rational combinations of immunotherapy with other therapeutic modalities to improve patient outcomes. We are particularly interested in targeting innate immunity pathways to initiate anti-tumor immune responses.
Michael Shiloh, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine and Microbiology
Research Interest: Our long-term goal is to elucidate host-pathogen interactions that govern the ability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) to cause disease in humans. We are taking an integrated approach, using powerful new molecular genetic, cell biologic, bioinformatic and metabolomic tools to test novel hypotheses and challenge existing paradigms. Our ultimate aim is to use this knowledge to develop new vaccines and treatments for Mtb.
Shiloh Lab website
Dan (Amanda) Tong, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine | Center for Human Nutrition
Research Interest: My lab studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases associated with systemic metabolic disorders, particularly heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and atrial fibrillation (AF), with an eye toward translating these findings into innovative solutions to clinical problems.
Tong Lab website
Peter Tsai, M.D., Ph.D.
Neurology & Neurotherapeutics, Neuroscience, Pediatrics and Psychiatry
Research Interest: We are interested in understanding the molecular, cellular, and circuit mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders in order to leverage those discoveries into translational opportunities. Recent studies from the laboratory have cast light on the contribution of non-canonical, but strongly clinically implicated brain regions to these disorders. We are using a combination of functional neural modulation, electrophysiology, precision behavioral, circuit, cellular, and molecular phenotyping to elucidate the contributions of these brain regions. Concomitantly, we are demonstrating the translational potential of modifying these pathways to benefit these disrupted phenotypes with the goal of translating these findings into therapies that will benefit individuals with these often devastating disorders.
Tsai Lab website
Jeffrey SoRelle, M.D.
Research Interest: We are discovering the molecular pathways that regulate allergy and IgE responses by using a genetic approach in humans and mice. Several mutants increase or decrease IgE and we study the mechanism of these mutations and how they make some people more susceptible or resistant to allergies.
SoRelle Lab website
Emre Turer, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine and Center for the Genetics of Host Defense
Research Interest: We are interested in finding genes with novel functions in intestinal immune homeostasis. Our projects generally involve a mix of experimental approaches examining both the intestinal epithelium as well as hematopoietic causes of intestinal inflammation.
Turer Lab website
Rafael Ufret-Vincenty, M.D.
Research Interest: Improving our understanding of the mechanisms of disease in early age-related macular degeneration and the mechanisms of retinal recovery from injury using animal models.
Ufret-Vincenty Lab website
Richard Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Interest: Glucose transport and metabolism, DNA tumor viruses
Richard Wang Lab website
Sam Wang, M.D.
Research Interest: 1) Understanding the functional effects of chromatin remodeling molecule mutations in foregut malignancies. 2) Dissecting the molecular mechanisms behind gastric cancer outcome disparities associated with patient ethnicity and race.
Jeffrey Zigman, M.D., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine and Psychiatry
Research Interest: Understanding the mechanisms by which the gut-brain axis controls body weight, eating, blood glucose, and mood in normal and disease states by studying the hormone ghrelin.
Zigman Lab website