CDP Program Leaders

Dr. Rong Li
Rong Li, Ph.D.

Rong Li, Ph.D. is a Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). He was recruited to UTHSCSA in January 2007 by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Cancer Center, and assumed the position of CDP Program Co-Leader in April 2008. Dr. Li was on the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Medicine from 1996 to 2006. He had also served as the co-leader of the Molecular Genetics Program at the Cancer Center of the University of Virginia. Dr. Li received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his postdoctoral training at the Cold Spring harbor Laboratory. Dr. Li's main research interest is gene regulation in breast cancer development. In the past his laboratory has demonstrated the transcriptional regulatory and chromatin remodeling activities of the breast cancer susceptibility gene product BRCA1, and their connection with the tissue-specific tumor suppression function of BRCA1. In addition, Dr. Li's laboratory has also discovered a novel transcription regulator, cofactor of BRCA1 (COBRA1), which can work together with BRCA1 to regulate transcription in breast cancer cells. More recent data from Dr. Li's laboratory also indicates a key function of COBRA1 in mammary gland development and breast tumor progression. Another research direction in Dr. Li's laboratory is the impact of adipose tissue on breast cancer incidence and progression. Effort in this research area is focused on elucidating the biochemical and biomechanical signaling that regulates adipose tissue production of estrogen and other growth/inflammatory factors.

Dr. Li's Contact Information
Office: Room 219, South Texas Research Facility
Phone: 210-562-4152

Dr. Thomas Slaga
Thomas Slaga, Ph.D.

Thomas Slaga, Ph.D. is currently the Co-Leader of the Program and a Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Slaga started an active leadership role in cancer research in 1976 when he became head of an interactive research program on skin carcinogenesis and chemoprevention at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 1982, Dr. Slaga became Director of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's - Science Park at Smithville (UTMDACC-SP) whose mission was multidisciplinary and interactive research on cancer causation and prevention. At UTMDACC-SP, he was successful in obtaining several long standing training grants, several program project grants, an ACS Institutional Program grant for 10 years and an NIEHS Center Grant with Dr. John DiGiovanni as Center Director. In addition, Dr. Slaga was very active in helping UTMD Anderson Cancer Center in several competitive renewals of its NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Slaga also served on major institutional strategic committees such as the Executive Committee of the Science Faculty, the research council and the President's Advisory Board. In 1998, Dr. Slaga became Executive Vice President for Research (Scientific Director) at the AMC Cancer Research Center and Deputy Director of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Slaga has close to 40 years of research experience in carcinogenesis and chemoprevention. He is nationally and internationally renowned for his pioneering work on chronic inflammation and cell proliferation on disease causation and prevention especially related to epithelial cancers such as skin, prostate, breast and lung. His overall research interests are not only in cancer research but also nutrition, endocrinology and environmental toxicology. His studies address how diet and nutrition, lifestyle, environmental factors and the complex interactions of our genes can affect one's health, especially as related to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. A strong focal point of this research has and continues to be studying the mechanisms involved in chronic inflammation and cell proliferation on disease causation and prevention especially related to epithelial cancers such as skin, prostate, breast and lung. Dr. Slaga was one of the founding editor-in-chief for the Journal of Molecular Carcinogenesis. He has served on many review committees such as a full member and chair of the Chemical Pathology Study Section, American Cancer Society review groups, Cancer Center review groups and program project review committees. He also served on several NIEHS, EPA and FDA review committees. Dr. Slaga also serves on the Board of Directors for the Aspen Cancer Conference and several scientific advisory committees. He has over 300 publications.

Dr. Slaga's Contact Information
Office: Room 422D, Medical Building
Phone: 210-567-4231