- Research Fellowship - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (1997-1999), Oncology
- Fellowship - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (1995-1998), Oncology
- Residency - Harvard/Brigham and Women's Hospital (1993-1995), Internal Medicine
- Medical School - Washington University School of Medicine (1985-1993)
Theodora Ross, M.D., Ph.D.
- Jeanne Ann Plitt Professorship in Breast Cancer Research
- H. Ben and Isabelle T. Decherd Chair in Internal Medicine, in Honor of Henry M. Winans, Sr., M.D.
- Internal Medicine - Hematology/Oncology
- Breast Cancers
- Cancer Genetics
Theodora Ross, M.D., Ph.D., holds the Jeanne Ann Plitt Professorship in Breast Cancer Research and the H. Ben and Isabelle T. Decherd Chair in Internal Medicine, in Honor of Henry M. Winans, Sr., M.D. at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She specializes in cancer genetics.
Dr. Ross received her M.D. and Ph.D. from the Washington University Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) in St. Louis. She completed her medical residency in Boston at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, followed by a fellowship in oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Prior to joining UT Southwestern, Dr. Ross served as a clinician and researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where for many years she cared for women with breast cancer and investigated the basic cellular mechanisms of cancer cells and how those cells resist targeted cancer drugs.
Her laboratory at UT Southwestern continues this research and also investigates BRCA1, a breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene. In her clinical practice, Dr. Ross cares for individuals at a high genetic risk for any type of cancer. She also serves as the director of the UT Southwestern Cancer Genetics Program.
Outside of her official job, Dr. Ross has been a strong advocate for funding of basic cancer research. From 1997 to 2003, she served as president of Boston’s “Concert for the Cure,” a nonprofit organization that raises money for basic breast cancer research. In addition, she uses her experience with the Washington University and University of Michigan Medical Scientist Training Programs to help recruit for and grow UT Southwestern’s MSTP initiative, which trains the next generation of physician scientists.
Dr. Ross is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Association for Cancer Research, and American Society for Clinical Investigation. She also serves on the Board of Consulting Editors for the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Meet Dr. Ross
Theodora Ross, M.D., Ph.D., helps people understand what their genes might be telling them about their risk for cancer.
Dr. Ross directs UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Cancer Genetics Program, which sees more than 2,000 patients every year. The physicians and genetic counselors in the Cancer Genetics Clinic help patients assess their risk for many types of cancer, including kidney, skin, lung, breast, ovarian, colon, endocrine and prostate cancers.
Twenty years ago, this type of work would have been impossible.
“Back then, this type of clinic didn’t exist; we didn’t know how to use the genetic information that we had,” says Dr. Ross. “Today we do. And we can save people’s lives. It’s such an exciting time.”
People who have a family history of cancer come to the Cancer Genetics Clinic to work with Dr. Ross and a genetic counselor. If a known genetic predisposition to cancer is found, Dr. Ross and her team counsel the patient about the best ways to prevent cancer from ever forming.
Patients who already have cancer also benefit from genetic testing, Dr. Ross says.
“Genetic testing can help us make important decisions about the best method of treatment. For breast cancer, for example, we can do a quick test to determine whether patients have a certain mutation, which could help decide whether they will have bilateral mastectomy versus just a lumpectomy.”
In addition, genetic testing can help physicians determine which chemotherapy to recommend, and whether an investigational drug might be warranted.
Dr. Ross is also a scientist, and she leads a laboratory that investigates how cells transform from normal cells to cancer cells, and how some cancer cells are able to withstand specifically targeted cancer drugs. One of her main areas of investigation is the BRCA1 gene, which – when abnormal – predisposes women to breast and ovarian cancer.
Dr. Ross says she’s passionate about combining fundamental scientific research with medicine because there is still so much to learn about how the genes we inherit affect the potential development of cancer.
“Whether or not a variant in any gene causes disease is the big question we still need to answer in many cases,” she says. “There are 25,000 genes in our genome, and our studies have shed light on only about 6,000 of them. And of those, we know only about 100 genes that cause cancer when they’re faulty.”
While that means there’s still a lot to learn about the human genome and cancer, Dr. Ross says it also means that another revolution in cancer genetics is just around the corner.
- American Society of Hematology (1999)
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (1999)
- American Association for Cancer Research (1999)
- American Society for Clinical Investigation (2004)
- Alpha Omega Alpha 1992
- American Cancer Society Oncology Fellow 1995
- American Society of Hematology Scholar 1999
- Damon Runyon Scholar 2000
- Jerome W. Conn Award for Excellence in Research 2004, University of Michigan
- Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar 2005
- Clinical Scientist Award 2008, Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Analysis of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from a BRCA1 Mutant Family.
Soyombo AA, Wu Y, Kolski L, Rios JJ, Rakheja D, Chen A, Kehler J, Hampel H, Coughran A, Ross TS Stem cell reports 2013 1 4 336-49
Persistence of leukemia-initiating cells in a conditional knockin model of an imatinib-responsive myeloproliferative disorder.
Oravecz-Wilson KI, Philips ST, Yilmaz OH, Ames HM, Li L, Crawford BD, Gauvin AM, Lucas PC, Sitwala K, Downing JR, Morrison SJ, Ross TS Cancer cell 2009 Aug 16 2
Degenerative phenotypes caused by the combined deficiency of murine HIP1 and HIP1r are rescued by human HIP1.
Bradley SV, Hyun TS, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Li L, Waldorff EI, Ermilov AN, Goldstein SA, Zhang CX, Drubin DG, Varela K, Parlow A, Dlugosz AA, Ross TS Human molecular genetics 2007 Jun 16 11
Huntingtin interacting protein 1 is a novel brain tumor marker that associates with epidermal growth factor receptor.
Bradley SV, Holland EC, Liu GY, Thomas D, Hyun TS, Ross TS Cancer research 2007 Apr 67 8
Huntingtin Interacting Protein 1 mutations lead to abnormal hematopoiesis, spinal defects and cataracts.
Oravecz-Wilson KI, Kiel MJ, Li L, Rao DS, Saint-Dic D, Kumar PD, Provot MM, Hankenson KD, Reddy VN, Lieberman AP, Morrison SJ, Ross TS Human molecular genetics 2004 Apr 13 8
Clathrin- and AP-2-binding sites in HIP1 uncover a general assembly role for endocytic accessory proteins.
Mishra SK, Agostinelli NR, Brett TJ, Mizukami I, Ross TS, Traub LM The Journal of biological chemistry 2001 Dec 276 49
Use of Whole Genome Sequencing for Diagnosis and Discovery in the Cancer Genetics Clinic.
Foley SB, Rios JJ, Mgbemena VE, Robinson LS, Hampel HL, Toland AE, Durham L, Ross TS EBioMedicine 2015 Jan 2 1 74-81
Use of panel tests in place of single gene tests in the cancer genetics clinic.
Yorczyk A, Robinson LS, Ross TS Clinical genetics 2014 Oct
An Internal Performance Assessment of CancerGene Connect: An Electronic Tool to Streamline, Measure and Improve the Genetic Counseling Process.
Pritzlaff M, Yorczyk A, Robinson LS, Pirzadeh-Miller S, Lin T, Euhus D, Ross TS Journal of genetic counseling 2014 Jun
Toward a therapeutic reduction of imatinib refractory myeloproliferative neoplasm-initiating cells.
Philips ST, Hildenbrand ZL, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Foley SB, Mgbemena VE, Ross TS Oncogene 2013 Nov
HIP1 Phosphorylation by Receptor Tyrosine Kinases.
Ames HM, Wang AA, Coughran A, Evaul K, Huang S, Graves CW, Soyombo AA, Ross TS Molecular and cellular biology 2013 Jul
Hip1r is expressed in gastric parietal cells and is required for tubulovesicle formation and cell survival in mice.
Jain RN, Al-Menhali AA, Keeley TM, Ren J, El-Zaatari M, Chen X, Merchant JL, Ross TS, Chew CS, Samuelson LC The Journal of clinical investigation 2008 Jul 118 7
Use of a cryptic splice site for the expression of huntingtin interacting protein 1 in select normal and neoplastic tissues.
Graves CW, Philips ST, Bradley SV, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Li L, Gauvin A, Ross TS Cancer research 2008 Feb 68 4
Serum antibodies to huntingtin interacting protein-1: a new blood test for prostate cancer.
Bradley SV, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Bougeard G, Mizukami I, Li L, Munaco AJ, Sreekumar A, Corradetti MN, Chinnaiyan AM, Sanda MG, Ross TS Cancer research 2005 May 65 10
HIP1 and HIP1r stabilize receptor tyrosine kinases and bind 3-phosphoinositides via epsin N-terminal homology domains.
Hyun TS, Rao DS, Saint-Dic D, Michael LE, Kumar PD, Bradley SV, Mizukami IF, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Ross TS The Journal of biological chemistry 2004 Apr 279 14
Huntingtin-interacting protein 1 is overexpressed in prostate and colon cancer and is critical for cellular survival.
Rao DS, Hyun TS, Kumar PD, Mizukami IF, Rubin MA, Lucas PC, Sanda MG, Ross TS The Journal of clinical investigation 2002 Aug 110 3
Huntingtin interacting protein 1 Is a clathrin coat binding protein required for differentiation of late spermatogenic progenitors.
Rao DS, Chang JC, Kumar PD, Mizukami I, Smithson GM, Bradley SV, Parlow AF, Ross TS Molecular and cellular biology 2001 Nov 21 22
Regulation of the Src homology 2-containing inositol 5-phosphatase SHIP1 in HIP1/PDGFbeta R-transformed cells.
Saint-Dic D, Chang SC, Taylor GS, Provot MM, Ross TS The Journal of biological chemistry 2001 Jun 276 24
Fusion of Huntingtin interacting protein 1 to platelet-derived growth factor beta receptor (PDGFbetaR) in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia with t(5;7)(q33;q11.2).
Ross TS, Bernard OA, Berger R, Gilliland DG Blood 1998 Jun 91 12
Altered receptor trafficking in Huntingtin Interacting Protein 1-transformed cells.
Rao DS, Bradley SV, Kumar PD, Hyun TS, Saint-Dic D, Oravecz-Wilson K, Kleer CG, Ross TS Cancer cell 2003 May 3 5
Expression of BCR/ABL p210 from a Knockin Allele Enhances Bone Marrow Engraftment without Inducing Neoplasia.
Foley SB, Hildenbrand ZL, Soyombo AA, Magee JA, Wu Y, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Ross TS Cell reports 2013 Oct 5 1 51-60
Transforming properties of the Huntingtin interacting protein 1/ platelet-derived growth factor beta receptor fusion protein.
Ross TS, Gilliland DG The Journal of biological chemistry 1999 Aug 274 32
HIP1: trafficking roles and regulation of tumorigenesis.
Hyun TS, Ross TS Trends in molecular medicine 2004 Apr 10 4
Hip1-related mutant mice grow and develop normally but have accelerated spinal abnormalities and dwarfism in the absence of HIP1.
Hyun TS, Li L, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Bradley SV, Provot MM, Munaco AJ, Mizukami IF, Sun H, Ross TS Molecular and cellular biology 2004 May 24 10
Aberrant Huntingtin interacting protein 1 in lymphoid malignancies.
Bradley SV, Smith MR, Hyun TS, Lucas PC, Li L, Antonuk D, Joshi I, Jin F, Ross TS Cancer research 2007 Sep 67 18
Huntingtin-Interacting Protein 1: A Merkel Cell Carcinoma Marker that Interacts with c-Kit.
Ames HM, Bichakjian CK, Liu GY, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Fullen DR, Verhaegen ME, Johnson TM, Dlugosz AA, Ross TS The Journal of investigative dermatology 2011 Oct 131 10
Grace Rock's consent.
Ross TS Endocrine-related cancer 2012 Aug 19 4 C29-31
Epsin deficiency impairs endocytosis by stalling the actin-dependent invagination of endocytic clathrin-coated pits.
Messa M, Fernandez-Busnadiego R, Sun EW, Chen H, Czapla H, Wrasman K, Wu Y, Ko G, Ross T, Wendland B, De Camilli P eLife 2014 Aug e03311
Prevalence of Variant Reclassification Following Hereditary Cancer Genetic Testing.
Mersch J, Brown N, Pirzadeh-Miller S, Mundt E, Cox HC, Brown K, Aston M, Esterling L, Manley S, Ross T JAMA 2018 09 320 12 1266-1274
- Analysis of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from a BRCA1 Mutant Family.
- Tyrosine Kinase Oncogenes and their Roles in Leukemia Initiation, Maintenance and Drug Resistance
- Genetics of Cancer Predisposition
- Endocytosis and Cancer
- Cellular Consequences of BRCA1 Mutations
- Breast Cancers
- Cancer Genetics
Q&A by Dr. Ross
Articles by Dr. Ross
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