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Lab Members

  • Principal Investigator

    Assistant Professor of Therapeutic Radiology

    Dr. Escobar-Hoyos obtained her master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia. As a Fulbright Scholar, she pursued a Ph.D. in Cancer Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at Stony Brook University mentored by Dr. Kenneth Shroyer. She then completed her postdoctoral training at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center co-mentored by Drs. Steven Leach and Omar Abdel-Wahab. In 2020, Dr. Escobar-Hoyos joined the Department of Therapeutic Radiology at Yale as an Assistant Professor.The overarching goal of Dr. Escobar-Hoyos' lab is to cure pancreatic and lung cancers. Specifically, the team seeks to understand and target somatic mutations, and aberrant RNA processing in these tumors to  develop of novel therapies.
  • Postdoctoral Associate

    My goal is to develop novel therapies for pancreatic cancer by understanding how alternative splicing drives antitumor immunity and serves as a potential therapeutic target. I earned my Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). My research projects aimed to elucidate pathways and mechanisms associated with anti-inflammatory M2-macrophages to reduce the inflammatory process. During my Ph.D., I discovered that microRNAs are crucial to reducing the expression of inflammatory mediators in macrophages and inducing the expression of M2-associated molecules. This finding suggests reprogramming macrophages through the identified pathways can guide the development of new therapies across inflammatory pathologies in MS, and diabetes type 1, among others. This understanding of post-transcriptional events' impact on cells motivated me to study the role of alternative splicing in one of the most aggressive and therapeutically resistant cancers: Pancreatic cancer. Understanding the microenvironment of the tumors, tumor cell interaction with the immune system, and the role of splicing in these contexts is crucial to develop better therapeutic approaches. Postdoctoral Fellowship: Leslie Warner, Yale Cancer Center.
  • Postdoctoral Associate

    I am a microbiologist/immunologist with background in host-pathogen interactions and in molecular immunology that spans over 10 years of training. My doctoral work led to the discovery of how virulence factors activate inflammation responses in macrophages, and these findings impact our understanding of how we can develop therapeutics suitable for auto-immune diseases. With my thorough understanding that the immune system is a principal site that determines disease prognosis, I became motivated to pursue the study of its molecular regulation in pancreatic cancer, based on its high resistant to the best standard-of-care therapeutics we have and very short survival. In addition, while immunotherapy has shown promise in many cancers, pancreatic cancer is refractory to the current best immunotherapies available, suggesting that additional work is required to understand what makes the immune system in pancreatic cancer different and whether these differences can reveal therapeutic opportunities.
  • Robert is a current 2nd year medical student at SUNY Stony Brook. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelors in biochemistry from New York University in 2018. During his undergraduate career, his work under the mentorship of Dr. Nadrian Seeman & Dr. Yoel Ohayon focused on programmed self-assembly of biomolecules in the field of DNA nanotechnology. He then completed a post-baccalaureate IRTA fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in 2019 mentored by Dr. Wei Yang to investigate noon-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. In the Escobar-Hoyos lab, his current research focuses on computational analyses that identify mechanisms of alternative RNA splicing that drive tumor resistance in lung and pancreatic adenocarcinomas.
  • Matthew is a first-year graduate student at Yale University in the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry department. His previous work focused on secondary structural modeling of long noncoding RNAs. Currently, he is investigating how alternative RNA splicing contributes to lung adenocarcinomas.
  • Postdoctoral Associate

    I started my Postdoctoral training as a Postdoctoral Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Luisa Escobar-Hoyos in the Department of Therapeutic Radiology at Yale University in 2021. As a scientist in the field of Cancer Biology and Chemotherapeutics, my research goal is to understand essential cellular mechanisms that can serve as targets and therapy resistance for the development of new and more effective therapies to prevent and fight cancer. I have trained as a Molecular Pharmacologist in the field of Cancer and Inflammatory diseases, and I am now expanding my scientific repertoire through my postdoctoral training to understand what non-mutational mechanisms are used by pancreatic ductal carcinoma (PDAC) to thrive and develop resistance to currently available therapies.
  • Associate Research Scientist

    Saúl Rojas Sánchez, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale School of Public Health in the Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases department. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Experimental Biology and Biomedicine from the National Autonomous University of Mexico as part of the doctoral program of the Postgraduate School in Biological Sciences. During his undergraduate and graduate studies his research focused on the characterization of the specific DNA sequences responsible for promoting transcription of the U2 small nuclear RNA in the trypanosomatid parasite Leishmania major, which causes the disease known as leishmaniasis. The current studies of Dr. Saúl, conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Christian Tschudi, are focused toward understanding the molecular mechanisms causing gain of infectivity and quiescence in the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, the etiological agent of human and animal African trypanosomiasis.
  • Deanne Yugawa is currently pursuing an M.D./Ph.D. at the Yale School of Medicine. She graduated from the University of Utah with degrees in Biology (with Honors) and Economics. During her undergraduate career, Deanne completed internships at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Hawaii Pathologists' Laboratory, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at HHS. Deanne's past research focused on the role of Ptf1a (p48) in pancreatic cancer initiation. She is currently a member of the lab of Luisa Escobar-Hoyos where she studies the role of RNA splicing in pancreatic cancer.  In her free time, she enjoys reading mystery novels, exploring Japan, and going home to Hawaii.Fun Fact About Me: I never saw snow until college, but ended up living in a city where the snow was often taller than me.

Past Lab Members

  • Brett is a third-year undergraduate student at Yale University from Bradenton, Florida. He is currently pursuing his BS in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He is working with the Escobar-Hoyos Lab to determine the alternative RNA splicing mechanisms acting in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Brett plans to attend medical school after graduation and continue to pursue research as a physician.
  • Ryan is a 2nd year MSTP student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He received his BS in Applied Math & Statistics and Biochemistry from SUNY Stony Brook. He is working with us to understand the alternative splicing phenotypes of driver mutations in pancreatic cancers, and is most interested in computational and molecular approaches for accurately quantifying and predicting genetic events.
  • I'm a sophomore in Yale College, pursuing a BS in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. I'm working with Dr. Natasha Pinto Medici on alternative RNA splicing in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinomas (PDAC) and identifying second hit mutations in the progression of this disease. After graduation from college, I plan to pursue a PhD and work as a biological researcher. Outside of the lab, you'll find me playing ping pong, powerlifting, and playing bassoon in Yale's only pops orchestra.