Tomlinson Lab

Gail Tomlinson, M.D., Ph.D.

Gail Tomlinson, M.D., Ph.D.
Division Chief, Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology
Co-Director, Population Science Program and Prevention
Greehey Distinguished Chair in the Genetics of Cancer

Rank: Professor
Department: Pediatrics
Division: Chief of Hematology-Oncology
Office: 4.100.20
Tel: 210-562-9116
Office: 210-567-7477
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Website

Dr. Gail Tomlinson, MD, Ph.D. joined UT Health San Antonio in 2007 as the Division Chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and currently also serves the Mays Cancer Center as co-Director of the Population Science and Prevention Program. Since her arrival, Dr. Tomlinson also served as Interim Director of the GCCRI and Interim Chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Tomlinson received her M.D. from George Washington University School of Medicine and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Duke University. She completed an internship and residency at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and did a research fellowship in cancer genetics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, followed by a formal fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Tomlinson was a faculty member at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from 1992 to 2006, where was a tenured Associate Professor and held the Children’s Cancer Fund Distinguished Professorship in Pediatric Oncology Research. She currently is the holder of the Greehey Distinguished Chair in Cancer and Genetics.

Dr. Tomlinson is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology. Her research interests are in the genetic origins of childhood cancers, particularly tumors of the liver. She leads a multi-site program working with cancer-prone individuals and families throughout South Texas. She has also initiated an investigation of predisposing factors underlying the increased incidence of leukemia in children of Hispanic background in South Texas. She has served on multiple national and state committees focusing on advancing research, education, and advocacy in childhood cancer and has published over 180 scientific papers. She currently is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Counselors.

Dr. Tomlinson's UT Health SA, Faculty Profile

Lab Research

The Genetic Epidemiology of Childhood Cancer

  • Focus 1: We are interested in defining predisposition factors unique to the Hispanic population in South Texas.
  • Focus 2: We are interested in identifying genetic factors that may contribute to the adverse effects of ALL chemotherapy in Hispanic children.

We have enrolled over 550 patients with cancer from our South Texas facilities.

Genetics and Biology of Liver Tumorigenesis in Children

Hepatoblastoma- demonstrating multiple areas reflecting stages of embryonic liver development

Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common liver tumor in children. Liver tumors in children differ from those in adults in that they are not related to cirrhosis, but rather are thought to develop from a result of abnormal developmental molecular pathways. A significant problem in treating children with HB is the development of drug resistance. We have identified a gene, NFE2L2, which, when activated, may cause tumors to be resistant.

Focus 1: Determine biologic factors which at the time of diagnosis, can predict response to therapy.

Focus 2: Determine if NFE2L2 can be specifically targeted to decrease the proliferation of tumor cells.

GRACIAS Texas  Genetic Risk Assessment and Counseling iAll South Texas

A grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has enabled us to provide genetic counseling services to multiple sites in South Texas, including our regional campuses in Laredo and Harlingen. To date, we have had direct interaction with a cancer risk assessment to over 8500 individuals and provided formal genetic counseling services to more than 1200 individuals, most of whom have undergone molecular genetic testing as part of our program.

Our pediatric component of the genetic risk assessment is located at University Hospital.

Lab Staff

Christine Aguilar, M.D., MPH
Faculty Associate

Clarissa Aviles, MSHS 
Health Educator (Harlingen, TX)

Shawn Gessay, MS, CGC              
Genetic Counselor

Elena Marin, CHW             
Community Health Worker

Josep-Maria Peralba-Polo, Ph.D.       
Research Associate – Senior

Luz Perez-Parado, Ph.D.
Research Area Spec Lead

Natalie Poullard, MS, MA, CGC   
Genetic Counselor

Anna Pulido-Saldivar, MPH    
Health Educator – Senior (Laredo)

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