José Muñoz-Rodríguez, PhD

Pharmacology and Toxicology
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Research Scientist, Ventana Medical
Dissertation Title: 
Postpartum Breast Cancer in Hispanic Women: Epigenetics and microRNAs
Year Enrolled: 

B.S. Molecular and Cellular Biology (2001)
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Research Interests: 
The major goal of the proposed research is to study breast cancer in the Hispanic population. Specifically, I will use formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) breast tumor samples from Hispanic women to study the role of epigenetic modifications in breast cancer. I will identify associations between epigenetics and epidemiological markers in breast tumor samples. These studies will help identify major differences in breast cancer affecting Hispanic women and thus identify novel therapeutic approaches. The scope of the research will enable collaborations with Bernard W. Futscher, Ph.D. for the epigenetic regulation studies and Maria Elena Martinez, Ph.D. for the epidemiological studies. The research will require isolating nucleotides (DNA and RNA) from the FFPE tissues and performing microarray expression arrays as well as Real Time Reverse Transcriptase PCR to validate the gene expression profile. I will be conducting analysis of the methylation and acetylation states of these FFPE tissues. The studies may range from utilizing microarrays focusing on methylation of promoter regions to sequencing regions of the genome to assess their methylation status. As a Research Technician for Dr. Futscher, I acquired expertise in isolating nucleotides, performing Real-Time RT PCR for gene expression validation and the microarray technology. I prepared spotted arrays and worked to identify and validate the genes contained within the microarray slides. I enhanced my microarray technology capabilities by working as a Research Specialist in the Genomics Shared Service where I conducted microarrays on RNA and DNA samples for numerous labs across the University of Arizona. I learned how to use microarrays designed by scientific companies and how to troubleshoot in cases of inconclusive results. The experiences within those two labs and what I have learned throughout graduate school will allow me to complete the proposed research.
Honors and Achievements: 
1. Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity Fellowship, 2010.
2. Graduate Education at Mountain States Alliance, 2010-15.
3. Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research Program, 2011-14.
4. AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award, 2012.
5. Third Place Award for Doctoral Research Poster Presentation, 2012.
6. Honorable Mention Award for Doctoral Research Poster Presentation, 2013.
AACR Scholar-in-Training Award sponsored by Susan G. Komen, 2014.
8. Graduate Track Awards: Outstanding Research, 2014-15.
9. UA SRP Training Core Fellowship, 2014-15.
1. Munoz-Rodriguez JL, Vrba L, Futscher BW, Hu C, Komenaka IK, Meza-Montenegro MM, Gutierrez-Millan LE, Daneri-Navarro A, Thompson PA, Martinez ME. (2015) Differentially Expressed MicroRNAs in Postpartum Breast Cancer in Hispanic Women. PLoS ONE, 10(4):e0124340.
2. Vrba L, Munoz- Rodriguez, JL, Stampfer, MR, Futscher, BW. (2013) miRNA Gene Promoters are Frequent Targets of Abberant DNA Methylation in Human Breast Cancer. PLoS ONE, 8(1):e54398.
3. Novak P, Stampfer MR, Munoz-Rodriguez JL, Garbe JC, Ehrich M, Futscher BW, Jensen TJ. (2012) Cell-Type Specific DNA Methylation Patterns Define Human Breast Cellular Identity. PLoS ONE, 7(12):e52299.
4. Qiao S, Lamore SD, Cabello CM, Lesson JL, Munoz-Rodriguez JL, Wondrak GT. (2012) Thiostrepton is an inducer of oxidative and proteotoxic stress that impairs viability of human melanoma cells but not primary melanocytes. Biochem Pharmacol, 83(9): 1229-40.


Career Type: