UF Core Leader
Paul Okunieff, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, is the core leader for the TMC. A former branch chief at the NCI, chair of the CMCR Steering Committee, and director of the UF Health Cancer Center, Dr. Okunieff is an internationally recognized leader in the field of radiobiological research and radiation oncology. Dr. Okunieff’s research includes development of a novel method to measure radiation-induced DNA fragments in the bloodstream to estimate radiation exposure and the identification of molecules that provide genetically based protection against radiation hazards. He is actively involved in the creation and commercial development of a number of biomarkers for radiation and drug response and the development of agents against radiation toxicity. As core leader, Dr. Okunieff directs all tissue acquisition, storage, and access to facilitate project investigators’ successful completion of their projects.
Jose Trevino, MD, an assistant professor of surgery in the UF College of Medicine, is the core co-leader for the TMC. His clinical focus is on liver, bile duct, and pancreas surgery, and his research is dedicated to the development of therapeutic targets in pancreatic cancer. He has a significant background in pancreatic tumor signaling and chemoresistance with expertise in xenograft pancreatic tumor models. Notably, his clinical appointment provides immediate access to resected pancreatic tumor tissues, which has led to proficiency in patient derived pancreatic xenograft tumor models. As core co-leader, Dr. Trevino will facilitate access and policies for tissue acquisition in the operating room and to direct the PDX work.
Kristianna Fredenburg, MD, PhD, is a board-certified anatomic and clinical pathologist whose primary interests include head/neck and cardiothoracic pathology. Her long-term research goal is to understand the molecular basis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with a focus on determining whether or not biologic disparity exists between Blacks and Whites suffering from these cancers. Her experience as a general anatomic pathologist has provided her with the ability to easily identify tumor tissue on postsurgical gross specimens and to subsequently identify the percent tumor, inflammation, and necrosis on the corresponding H&E-stained tissue sections. She uses this expertise to select and then verify selection of tumoral tissues for her research studies and regularly provides this expertise as a pathology consultant for the UF CTSI biorepository.