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Dr. Gary L. Johanning

Dr. Gary L. Johanning

Regular Member

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Michale E. Keeling Center/Department of Veterinary Sciences

My laboratory is located in Bastrop, Texas, at UT Science Park -Veterinary Sciences

The major research focus in my laboratory is nutrition and cancer. Since nutrition is an environmental factor that can be controlled, there is potential to manipulate nutrient status to prevent cancer occurrence or recurrence. Our laboratory has found that the vitamin folic acid (folate) prevents development of resistance to the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin in human lung and ovarian cancer cell lines. Resistance to chemotherapy greatly limits the effectiveness of agents that are used for chemotherapy. We are currently investigating the mechanism by which folic acid modulates resistance to cisplatin. Another area of interest is glucose and breast cancer. We are evaluating how glucose levels affect breast cancer cell growth. In related work, we are also interested in how dietary carbohydrate modifications prior to weaning affect breast cancer risk in later life. Another area of research in my laboratory is expression of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) in breast and ovarian cancer. HERVs are remnants of ancestral exogenous retroviral infections, and our studies to date suggest that HERVs may be silenced in women without breast cancer, and then reactivated specifically in cancer cells. We are evaluating blood serum tests of HERVs as early markers of breast cancer, which might be alternatives to mammograms.

Students doing a tutorial in my laboratory would study folate/cisplatin interactions and human endogenous retrovirus expression in early breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. They would also gain experience in evaluating how early nutrition influences disease risk in later life.



MDACC Faculty

Program Affiliation:

Program in Experimental Therapeutics

Contact Information

Phone: 512.332.5211


Office: MDA MEKC/DVS (Unit 119)

Title: Associate Professor


Ph.D. - University of Missouri-Columbia - 1978