Staff

Vincy Alex

Vincy Alex - Kidney Cancer Program Coordinator

I was born and raised here in Dallas, Texas. I attended Texas Woman’s University in Denton and received my BS degree in Health Studies in 2011. I then received my Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Texas Woman’s University in Houston in 2013. I joined the Brugarolas lab as a Sr. Administrative Assistant in September 2013 and also have the privilege to serve as the Kidney Cancer Program Coordinator.


Wenfang Chen

Wenfang Chen - Visiting Scholar

I am a visiting scholar at UT Southwestern. As a Pathologist from China, I major in diagnosis of renal diseases, especially renal biopsies including native and transplant biopsies of adults and children. I am currently an Associate Professor in the department of pathology in the 1st Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University. My research interests include: molecular mechanism, underlying pathogenesis, and metastasis of human cancers, especially cancers of the urinary system. Now I am working on an interesting project which tests a drug target at Hif2a pathway for treatment in patients with advanced RCC.


Alana Christie

Alana Christie - Biostatistical Consultant

I was born and raised here in Dallas, Texas. I graduated in 2011 from the University of Oklahoma with a BS in Mathematics and an MS in Biostatistics. I joined the Simmons Cancer Center Biostatistics Shared Resource in March 2012 and began providing statistical support on projects with Dr. Brugarolas’ lab shortly after.


Shannon Cohn

Shannon Cohn - Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a pediatric hematology/oncology fellow at UT Southwestern. I am originally from Longview, Texas. For my undergraduate education, I attended UT Austin and received a degree in chemical engineering in 2005. I then received my medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine. Soon after coming to Children's Medical Center for pediatric residency, I discovered my passion for pediatric oncology. My fellowship training began in July 2012, and I joined the Brugarolas Lab in July 2013. The goal of my research is to understand the mTOR pathway and determine mechanisms of resistance to mTOR inhibitors.


Yi-feng Gu

Yi-feng Gu - Postdoctoral Fellow

I come from Shanghai, China. I obtained my PhD degree in cell biology from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou in 2011. My PhD thesis focused on innate immunity, specifically in the regulation and origins of NF-κB signaling. I am interested in translational medicine and cancer biology, so I joined the Brugarolas lab in 2012. My research is focused on the signaling pathways in kidney cancer.


Eboni Holloman

Eboni Holloman - Research Technician II

Proud Texan, born and raised! I graduated from St. John’s University (Queens, New York) in May of 2013 with a BS in Biology. Soon after I became a SPURS Fellow at Columbia University where my studies focused on airway smooth muscle; specifically the investigation of GABAA α4 specific ligands in hopes of discovering new therapeutic drugs for asthma. In September of 2013, I began working in the Brugarolas Lab on the development of RCC tumorgraft models for molecularly targeted therapies.


Payal Kapur

Payal Kapur - Collaborating Pathologist

I am a staff pathologist at UT Southwestern. I have been exposed to pathology training at two training programs in opposite sides of the world – Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, India, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. I am currently an Assistant Professor in the department of pathology. My research interests have included characterizing adult tumors and developing prognostic, therapeutic and diagnostic molecular markers. I am currently involved in multiple collaborative projects in genitourinary pathology. Investigating the biology of renal cell carcinoma has been most exciting. Dr. Brugarolas is an excellent mentor and a great collaborator and it has been fun working with him. 


Renee McKay

Renee McKay- Assistant Professor

I am originally from Swansea, MA, and attended college at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where I obtained a B.A. in Sociology and a B.S. in Biology. I received my Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. My thesis work focused on the role of the homeobox gene Ultrabithorax in Drosophila midgut development. I then moved to Dallas, TX for my post-doctoral training with Jonathan Graff at UT Southwestern. Initially, I worked on identifying genes involved in embryonic development using Xenopus laevis as a model, but then the lab switched focus to the study of adipogenesis. In 2008, I joined Dr. Luis F. Parada’s Iab, where I assisted Dr. Parada with grant and manuscript writing. And in September of 2013, I joined Dr. Brugarolas’ lab, where I am Director of Kidney Cancer Program Research Administration. 


Andrea Pavia-Jimenez

Andrea Pavia-Jimenez - Research Assistant

I'm originally from the Mexican Peninsula, but a proud Austinite! I graduated from St. Edward's University in Austin, TX with a major in Biology May 2010. It was at St. Edward's that my passion for research began. There, I studied the patterns of expression during early embryogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. I started working in the Brugarolas Lab September 2010 and I am currently working on a clinical research trial for first-line everolimus in patients with advanced RCC.


Samuel Peña–Llopis

Samuel Peña–Llopis - Instructor

I was born in Castellón, Spain. With both my parents working in science, my father a biologist doing research at the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and my mother a chemistry teacher, I grew up very interested in science. I obtained my BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Barcelona in 1997. I got my Ph.D. from the University of Valencia in 2003, where I started an independent line of research studying oxidative stress in aquatic animals. This work led to several publications including one that was awarded the 'Best Publication Award on Environmental Research 2004' by the Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry and AstraZeneca. At the completion of my Ph.D., I received a postdoctoral fellowship to study the effects of oxidative stress on gene regulation with Bruce Demple at the Harvard School of Public Health. The opportunity then arose of leading a project to uncover molecular events that lead to kidney cancer using a variety of genomic and bioinformatic tools. To carry out this project, I moved with Dr. Brugarolas to UT Southwestern Medical Center on February 1st, 2006. Shortly thereafter, I was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship of Excellence from Generalitat Valenciana, Spain.


Nick Wolff

Nick Wolff - Senior Research Associate

My name is Nick Wolff and I'm originally from Wharton, Texas, which is about 60 miles southwest of Houston. I went to Texas A&M University, where I got my Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry. I've been at UT Southwestern since 1996, and I joined the Brugarolas lab in April 2006. Previously, I worked on mouse models of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), where I tested experimental protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors and in which I studied STAT5 signaling. I look forward to achieving new success with Jim as we unlock the mysteries of REDD1.


Xian-Jin Xie

Xian-Jin Xie (Jin) - Collaborating Biostatistician

Currently an Associate Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Clinical Sciences and at the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, I received a Bachelor's degree (Physiology and Biophysics) from Beijing University in China. Subsequently, I received both a Doctorate degree in biostatistics, as well as a Master's degree in neurobiology, from the University of Iowa. After my training, I stayed at the University of Iowa as an Associate Research Scientist (Project Lead Biostatistician). In June of 2005, I joined the faculty at UT Southwestern Medical Center. My scientific research interests focus on biostatistic and bioinformatic methodologies and their application to collaborative research projects between biomedical and clinical disciplines.