Harika Nagandla

Harika Nagandla was awarded a PhD in Biology from University of Houston (main campus), where her research involved analysis of skeletal muscle-specific and developmental stage specific knockouts of Smyd1 during mouse embryogenesis that led to the discovery of a novel role of Smyd1 in myoblast differentiation. Later, Harika went on to work as a post-doctoral researcher for 4+ years at Baylor College of Medicine, focusing on splice variants of Androgen Receptor (AR) in castration resistant prostate cancer. Her work helped move the field of prostate cancer research forward by establishing that shorter splice variants of AR can have distinct functions in prostate cancer progression from full length AR. Harika joined HMRI to work on mechanisms regulating the progression of Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), the most lethal form of the disease under the guiding influence of Prof. Christoforos Thomas. In her spare time, Harika likes to extend her experimentation into the Kitchen and explore the national parks in the country.

Aireana Phillips

Aireana Phillips has a certificate in data analytics and pet styling as well as a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Tuskegee University. She worked at Methodist Hospital for CMP for four years before joining Dr. Thomas’ lab where she has undertaken the development and characterization of novel models of breast cancer. She was raised in a number of places and countries while being a Houston, Texas, native. She enjoys spending her free time at home with her dog Yoshi, keeping up with her loved ones, attending church, trying out new restaurants, and traveling. She is eagerly anticipating achieving her Master’s degree, which she is currently seeking.

Kim Cuong Cap

Kim Cuong Cap, hailing from Vietnam, attained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biological Science from Hue University, Vietnam. He pursued his Ph.D. at Hallym University in South Korea, specializing in the field of molecular and cellular biology, accumulating over seven years of experience. In May 2023, he joined Dr. Thomas’s Lab as a postdoctoral scholar. Cap’s research focuses on delineating the tumor host interactions that influence progression of aggressive forms of breast cancer and exploring innovative therapeutics for their treatment. During his leisure time, Cap finds joy in engaging in various activities such as playing football, taking leisurely walks, and traveling alongside his lovely wife and daughter.

Kristina Diana Adorabor Zambo

Kristina Diana Adorador Zambo received her BS in molecular and cellular biology from Johns Hopkins University in 2018 and is currently enrolled in the MD/PhD program at Texas A&M School of Medicine, joining the Thomas Lab in 2023. She brings four years’ worth of cumulative research experience having worked in the lab of Dr. Daria Gaykalova where she studied alternative splicing in head and neck cancer and achieved a co-first author publication as an undergrad, and in the lab of Drs. Chloe Thio and Ashwin Balagopal during her gap years studying hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma. Her current research with the Thomas Lab involves elucidating estrogen signaling in breast cancer in search of novel therapies. Outside of the lab, Kristina enjoys bonding with her family, spoiling her cat with an endless supply of tummy rubs, channeling her creativity by playing the piano and guitar, and is getting ready to embark on a life pursuit to find the most efficient way to make the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich (and find a cure for cancer).