Personal Statement

Since 1992, my laboratory has made many important contributions to the understanding of oncogene and transcription factor function in normal hematopoietic and immune cells and in tumor cells. I am one of the world’s experts in the biology, activities, functions and regulation of Myb transcription factors, which are essential for normal hematopoiesis and are involved in numerous types of human tumors. My laboratory has been continuously funded by NIH and/or ACS grants since 1992.

In the last 15 years, I have become increasingly versed in genomics and bioinformatics, and more recently in next-generation sequencing approaches. In addition to supervising my laboratory, I am Director of the Analytical and Translational Genomics Shared Resource, the next-generation sequencing, microarray and genomics facility in the UNM Cancer Center. I also organize and oversee a large cancer patient genome-sequencing project in the UNM Cancer Center, and I am a PI of the first IRB-approved genome sequencing protocol to be opened here. I supervise a team of biostatisticians and bioinformatics staff and organize monthly meetings to promote interactions between biologists and experts in biostatistics, bioinformatics and computational technologies.

Recently, my laboratory developed methods for using CRIPR/Cas9 to make knockouts in immune cells such as cell lines and normal CD34+ hematopoietic progenitors. We are using these cutting-edge methods to investigate the role of Myb proteins in immune cell development, and to investigate the relationships between RNA editing and alternative RNA splicing in normal and leukemic hematopoietic cells.

For the last four years I have collaborated with clinicians, population scientists and statisticians to investigate the molecular basis of disparities in our cancer patient population. I am well suited to apply my expertise in gene regulation, cancer biology, genomics and bioinformatics to these projects. I have mentored numerous junior faculty, post-docs, undergraduate students and PhD students, including seven PhD students who finished their PhDs in my laboratory. I have mentored several minority trainees, including a Navajo post-doc (O.L. George) who is now tenure-track faculty at the Univ of Hawaii and a Hispanic PhD student (A. Quintana) who is tenure-track faculty at Univ of Texas, El Paso. Several of my former PhD students entered non-academic careers in industry (J.D. Leverson, A.B. Dash) or scientific writing (F.C. Orrico), so I am experienced with helping students attain career goals outside the classic academic path.

My laboratory maintains focused on understanding all aspects of the MYB oncogene, including its regulation, alternative splicing, activities and functions in both normal and tumor cells.

Education

Graduate School: PhD, University of California, Los Angeles (1985)

Achievements & Awards

Endowment: The Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Professor in Cancer Genomics

Languages

  • German

Research

Research Fellowship: European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg (1992)