UTHSCSA Faculty Profiles v1.0

Dahia, Patricia Leal de Melo

School of Medicine
(210) 567-4866

I am an MD, PhD with clinical training in Endocrinology and Metabolism and laboratory training in Cancer Genetics, Cellular and Molecular Biology. I am currently a tenured Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). My career has been dedicated to research on the genetics of cancer, with emphasis on inherited endocrine tumors and discovery of cancer susceptibility genes (including PTEN, SDHB, KIF1B, EPAS1/HIF2A, TMEM127, etc). This work has had both translational and biological impact. On the translational level, our studies helped define paradigms for genetic testing, patient surveillance, and innovative therapeutic modeling, especially in the area of pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. Our integrative genomics and signal transduction work uncovered links between energy metabolism, hypoxia, endosome/lysosomal signals and cancer susceptibility which shed light into mechanisms of tumor development. In parallel to the ongoing gene discovery efforts through our patient sample repository (NCT03160274), current lines of investigation in my laboratory explore: a) the function of transmembrane protein TMEM127 tumor suppressor as a nutrient responsive endosomal/lysosomal component and regulator of insulin sensitivity in vivo, b) epigenetic changes secondary to SDH and HIF mutations, and c) the epistatic interaction between in vivo hypoxia and HIF mutation (cyanotic congenital heart disease and paraganglioma, NEJM, 2018). We are also bringing our discoveries to the design and implementation of novel clinical trials in rare cancers (HIF2A inhibitor in metastatic paraganglioma, under review). Throughout my independent career I have maintained continuous funding by Federal, State and Private grant agencies, have developed multidisciplinary collaborations and led multi-investigator consortia. I have mentored over 40 trainees at various levels, many of whom have gone on to independent careers in academia and industry. For the past two years I serve as the medical director of the UTHSCSA Clinical Translation Science Award (CTSA) activities to promote innovative clinical trial operations at UTHSCSA, and across CTSAs nationwide.

9/2015 - Present Tenured Professor University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), Medicine, San Antonio, TX
8/2005 - Present Faculty Member and Member of the Mays Cancer Center (formerly Cancer Therapy and Research Center, CTRC) at UTHSCSA University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX