Green Center Faculty

The Green Center includes members from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as more than 20 additional members from a variety of other departments across campus.

Our faculty work in wide areas related to reproductive biology, gene regulation, genomics, stem cells, RNA biology, structural biology, and biochemistry.

Primary, Secondary, Adjunct Green Center Faculty

The Green Center faculty work in the areas of signaling, gene regulation, and nuclear function in reproduction, development, metabolism, cancer, inflammation, and stem cells.

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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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Jin Chen, Ph.D.

Photograph of Jin Chen

Assistant Professor, Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, Pharmacology
Laboratory: Chen Lab
jin.chen@utsouthwestern.edu

Research: Our primary research interest is to understand the emerging roles of the “unannotated genome,” which encodes a whole new class of uncharacterized microproteins. We focus on the relevance and function of this “dark proteome” in regulating development and disease. More broadly, our major goal is to study how gene regulation is controlled at the translational level, and how translational control is misregulated in cancer and other disease contexts. We are exploring these mechanisms using a repertoire of interdisciplinary approaches, including CRISPR-based functional genomics, next generation deep-sequencing techniques, biophysical characterization, and bioinformatics.

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Gary Hon, Ph.D.

Photograph of Gary Hon

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

Research: Our primary research interest is to develop a comprehensive understanding of how the millions of non-coding regulatory elements encoded in our genomes precisely coordinate gene expression in developmental and disease contexts. A major focus is elucidating how genetic and epigenetic dysregulation of transcriptional enhancers supports a cancer cell’s altered transcriptional program. To accomplish this, we take a systems biology approach: developing and employing integrative techniques at the interface of gene regulation, epigenetics, functional genomics, and bioinformatics. 

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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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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: The Castrillon laboratory has broad interests in the intersection of reproduction, infertility, and cancer. Areas of special interest include P13K/Foxo signaling in the control and preservation of the gemline and the role of the LKB1/MTOR pathway in diverse cancers of the reproductive tract.

Cheng-Ming Chiang, Ph.D.
Cancer Center/Pathology
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.

Joel Elmquist, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Internal Medicine/Hypothalamic Research
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.

Ralf Kittler, Ph.D.
Eugene McDermott Center for Growth and Development
Laboratory: Kittler Lab
ralf.kittler@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Cancer genomics. 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. 

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.

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.

Ganesh Raj, M.D., Ph.D.
Urology, Pharmacology
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-Umetani 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.

Clifford Wai, M.D.
Urogynecology/Obstetrics and Gynecology
Laboratory: Wai Lab
clifford.wai@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Animal models for lower urinary tract dysfunction and anal incontinence. More recently, interests have included exploring the role of mechanical trauma, denervation, pregnancy, and the effects of growth factors and myogenic stem cells on wound healing of the external anal sphincter. Other research interests include urogynecology education, functional anatomy and biomechanics of gynecologic surgical procedures, patient outcomes in incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse.

Yihong Wan, Ph.D.
Pharmacology
Laboratory: Yihong Wan Lab
yihong.wan@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Our long-term goal is to understand how the nuclear receptor family of transcription factors and associated pathways regulate development, metabolism, and cancer, using the skeleton and the mammary gland as model systems. 

Ann Word, M.D.
Obstetrics and Gynecology, Green Center for Biology Sciences
Laboratory: Word Lab
ann.word@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: Mechanisms of extracellular matrix remodeling of the female reproductive tract in both physiologic states (e.g., during pregnancy, parturition, and the puerperium) and pathologic conditions (pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and injury of the external anal sphincter).

Jiang Wu, Ph.D.
Physiology
Laboratory: Jiang Wu Lab
jiang9.wu@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: We are interested in chromatin regulation of signaling pathways that are important for stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. The current focus is the function of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes in embryonic and neural development.

Jian Xu, Ph.D.
Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UTSW
Laboratory: Jian Xu Lab
jiang9.wu@utsouthwestern.edu
Research: We are interested in chromatin regulation of signaling pathways that are important for stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. The current focus is the function of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes in embryonic and neural development.

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