Our Researchers

Patrick Sung, D. Phil.

Position: Professor
Email: sungp@uthscsa.edu

Patrick was born in Hong Kong and finished high school there. He went to the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom to study biochemistry (1978-1981) and did his doctoral research with Peter Esnouf at Oxford University, where he received training in protein biochemistry and enzymology while focusing on the role of the vitamin K-dependent carboxylase in blood coagulation. He joined the laboratory of Louise Prakash and Satya Prakash as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Rochester in 1985, where he developed the systems to express, purify, and characterize a number of budding yeast proteins that function in nucleotide excision repair (NER), the process by which cells excise bulky, potentially mutagenic lesions from DNA. Patrick’s efforts made an important contribution in the reconstitution of the NER reaction. Since establishing his own laboratory in 1993 (at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston), Patrick has maintained a strong commitment toward understanding how yeast and human cells engage homologous recombination (HR) as tool in eliminating DNA breaks and crosslinks. Patrick is the recipient of several highly competitive grant awards, including the National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award, the Recruitment of Established Investigators Award from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), and a Team Science Grant Award from the Gray Foundation to study the biology of BRCA cancers.   He is the holder of the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry and serves as the Associate Dean for Research in the Long School of Medicine. He is also the Chair (interim) of the Biochemistry and Structural Biology Department.


Youngho Kwon, PhD

Position: Associate Professor/Research
Email: kwony@uthscsa.edu

Youngho graduated from Seoul National University in S. Korea with B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees. He received his Ph.D degree in 2003 from Washington State University in Pullman, WA, in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Smerdon.  His research interests have been focused on understanding the molecular details of DNA repair mechanisms. His career as a biochemist and molecular biologist has continued under the guidance of Dr. Sung in his post-doctoral training period and as a research-track faculty in the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department at Yale University. Youngho joined the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology at UTHSCSA as an associate professor/research in 2018 and has been investigating various aspects of the homology-directed DNA repair pathways and the link between DNA helicases and DNA replication machinery.

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James Daley, PhD

Position: Assistant Professor/Research
Email: daleyj@uthscsa.edu

Jim is originally from Wisconsin, where he obtained his B.A. in biology from Lawrence University. He did his Ph.D. with Thomas E. Wilson at the University of Michigan, where he worked on the nonhomologous end joining pathway of DNA repair. He spent a few years as a postdoc studying base excision repair in Montreal, Quebec before joining Dr. Sung’s lab in 2011. Since then, Jim has been working on elucidating the mechanisms of DNA end resection, and is currently initiating new projects addressing the mutagenic, cancer-associated microhomology-mediated end joining pathway. Outside the lab, Jim is enjoying discovering all that San Antonio has to offer, and has been especially impressed by Whataburger and those donuts that have hot dogs in the middle of them.

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Eloise Dray, PhD

Position: Assistant Professor/Research
Email: dray@uthscsa.edu

Eloïse received her Ph.D. from University Paris 11 in France, where she evidenced the first interaction between the breast cancer predisposition protein BRCA2 and the meiotic recombinase DMC1. She took a post-doctoral position in Dr. Sung’s laboratory at Yale University and became conversant with protein biochemistry. There, she investigated the link between breast cancer proteins (e.g. BRCA2, PALB2) and DNA repair pathways. During this time, she deciphered the function of several proteins, such as RAD51AP1, that are now considered essential to DNA repair mechanisms in humans.  After 6 years in Australia as a research fellow, including five as the lead of a small autonomous research group supported by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Princess Alexandra Foundation and the Cancer Council Queensland​, Eloise returned to the USA where she is now pursuing research at the UTHSCSA School of Medicine, in the department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology. She is investigating the role of protein phosphorylations in the maintenance of genomic integrity, and the role of chromatin remodellers in cancer avoidance.  Her interest in DNA repair pathways and its connection to breast cancer disease has lead to 24 publications in these fields of research.

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Yi Du, PhD

Position: Assistant Professor/Research
Email: duy1@uthscsa.edu

Yi received his Ph.D. and postdoctoral training in Dr. Mien-Chie Hung’s laboratory in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at the Graduate School of Biomedical Science, UT Health Science Center at Houston and UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. His research has focused on the development of mechanism-driven therapeutic strategies for cancer patients, uncovered the mechanism of how cancer cell signaling mediates PARP inhibitor resistance during cancer treatment, and led to development of a potential combinational strategy for PARP inhibitor resistance. He also investigated the role of EGFL6, an oncogenic and angiogenic protein, in promoting the aggressiveness of metastatic breast cancer by suppressing the immune response, and subsequently developed therapeutic approaches using a monoclonal antibody of EGFL6.  He joined Dr. Sung’s group at UTHSCSA in 2019, and as a joint research faculty, is currently working in Dr. Burma’s laboratory in the Department of Neurosurgery, where he will explore the mechanisms by which irradiation or other DNA damaging reagents induce cellular senescence in glioma, as well as the tumor microenvironment to link cancer recurrence or treatment resistance via cancer stem cells or immune suppression. His research goal is to develop novel therapeutic strategies for patients with glioma.


Jae-Hoon Ji, PhD

Position: Assistant Professor/Research
Email: jij@uthscsa.edu

Jae-Hoon received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Dankook University in South Korea, where he worked on the upstream regulators and downstream targets of Polo-like kinase 1 during mitosis. He became a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Sang Lee’s laboratory at UTHSCSA in 2009, where he focused on the DNA damage response (DDR) pathways, especially micro-homology-mediated end-joining (MMEJ), and also centromere core factors involved in DDR. He took a faculty position at Ajou University School of Medicine in South Korea in 2012, where he investigated the novel E3 ubiquitin ligases and their function in DDR. He also discovered the cross-talk between histone epigenetic modification and transcription-coupled homologous recombination (TC-HR) repair. He returned to UTHSCSA in 2019 as an assistant professor/research, where he is focusing on MMEJ vs. HR (Homologous Recombination); chromatin remodeling complexes and epigenetic codes in DDR; and E3 ligase’s function both in ATM (Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated) (ATM) vs. PARPs (poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase) and in alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT).


Stephen Holloway, PhD

Position: Laboratory Manager
Email: holloways@uthscsa.edu

Stephen obtained a bachelor’s in biochemistry from the University of Manchester and remained at the same university to obtain a doctorate, also in biochemistry, studying the tubulin genes of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. He continued his studies on the parasite as a post-doctoral fellow at Dartmouth Medical School, investigating the chaperone genes as well as drug resistance, but subsequently transitioned to chloroplast RNA processing in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii during a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin. A further, gradual, transition to laboratory management occurred during this second fellowship, and this became a permanent career after moving to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where he worked on a number of projects ranging from ALS to schistosomiasis. He joined Dr. Sung’s laboratory in October of 2018 and oversaw the lab’s transition from Yale to UTHSCSA.  He has a keen interest in natural history (particularly dragonflies), macro photography, South African succulents, history (especially that of the eighteenth and nineteenth century botanical explorers), woodworking, and hiking the great Texas trails.


Nicolas Paquet, PhD

Position: Research Scientist/Senior
Email: paquet@uthscsa.edu

Nicolas obtained a M.Sc. in evolution and botany and, in 2006, a Ph.D. in plant physiology from the Paris XI University, France, before pursuing his post-doctoral training in biochemistry and DNA repair in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University, USA. Following his relocation to Australia in 2012, Nicolas continued his research on single-strand DNA-binding proteins and their role in DNA repair and cancer development. Underpinning his current role, Nicolas brings a strong and comprehensive career in protein science and protein production, Nicolas also has expertise across molecular biology, and biophysics – SPR, MALS, CD Spectrophotometry. Until 2018, Nicolas was head of the Downstream Process Department for one of the leading Australian contract manufacturing organisations. There he established, led, and managed a team of scientists focused on downstream process activities (separation, filtration, chromatography), from early process development to large scale cGMP production of active pharmaceutical ingredients extracted from microorganisms for pre-clinical studies and clinical trials (Phase 1, 2 and 3).

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Hardeep Kaur, PhD

Position: Research Scientist
Email: kaurh@uthscsa.edu

Hardeep was born in New Delhi, India, and studied both Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, and IMTECH, Chandigarh.  She worked at the Institute of Microbial Technology before becoming a post-doctoral researcher at the National Cancer Institute.  She joined Dr. Sung’s lab in September of 2018, and moved with the Sung lab to UTHSCSA in February of 2019.

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Yashpal Rawal, PhD

Position: Research Scientist
Email: rawal@uthscsa.edu

Yashpal graduated from the University of Rajasthan, India, in 2005 with a master’s in biotechnology and obtained his Ph.D. from Institute of Microbial Technology in Chandigarh, India.  He did post-doctoral research at The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), where he worked on the chromatin remodelers SWI/SNF and RSC and their versatile regulation of different stages of transcription initiation.  He joined Dr. Sung’s lab in September of 2018, and moved with the Sung lab to UTHSCSA in February of 2019.

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