The Best of the AACR Journals Collection: Author Profiles
Title & Affiliation:
Professor; Director, Center for Gastrointestinal Research; Director, Center for Translational Genomics and Oncology; Michael A Ramsay Chair in Cancer Genomics, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute and Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, Dallas, TX.
Q: What is your primary area of study/research?
A: Translational genomics and precision oncology for gastrointestinal cancers (colorectal, pancreatic, gastric, esophageal, hepatocellular, rectal, inflammatory bowel disease), cancer prevention, as well as genetics and epigenetics of cancer.
Q: What influenced your decision to embark on a research career?
A: The global differences in disease disparity was one of the key curiosities for me from very early years in college. I was always fascinated by the fact that although as a human race we are quite identical, why are there such stark differences for various diseases, including cancer, in different populations across the globe. As I delved deeper into the subject, it became more apparent to me that a lot of this has to do with variations in diets and lifestyles in different parts of the world- all of which collectively influenced me to begin exploring this topic systematically over the past more than two decades.
Q; What excites you most about your research area?
A: Our research is quite translational in nature, which excites me very much, knowing that there is a realistic potential of some of our research discoveries (e.g. disease biomarkers) to be adopted in the clinical care of patients suffering from gastrointestinal cancers in not such a distant future.
Q: What are your hobbies or passions outside of work?
A: I do enjoy cooking, as and when time allows. I feel that there is quite a bit of analogy between scientific experiments and cooking—as they both allow you to explore and be innovative. I enjoy being with my family, and my two fabulous teen boys, who make us proud each day. I also enjoy watching sports, which includes primarily basketball and football. Lastly, I enjoy traveling, especially family vacations, which we try to do once or twice a year.