Gail Tomlinson, MD, PhD

Gail Tomlinson, MD, PhD
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, PhD 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 MD from George Washington University School of Medicine and her PhD 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 MD 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 San Antonio, Faculty Profile

Lab Research

Epidemiology of Childhood Cancer in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults

This is an ongoing registry and repository for the study of etiologic factors in cancer development in our population of South Texas.  This protocol also supports tumor acquisition and clinical annotation for the GCCRI PDX Core funded through CPRIT.

GRACIAS TexasGenetic Risk Assessment for Cancer in All South Texas

A grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas enabled us to provide genetic counseling services to multiple sites in South Texas, including our regional sites in Laredo and Harlingen. The project enabled public and professional education across a broad region of South Texas to provide an individual risk assessment to over 12,000 individuals through personal and family cancer history assessment and provided formal genetic counseling services to 1575 individuals, most of whom have undergone molecular genetic testing as part of our program.  Outcomes of this program are currently being summarized and prepared for publication.  Although this project is concluding in 2021, we continue to provide cancer genetic counseling and testing services to the underserved population across our broad region of South Texas. We strive to learn as much as possible about our genetically high-risk population and to address disparities that have existed in this underserved population.

The pediatric component of the genetic risk assessment is located at University Hospital.  We provide cancer genetic risk assessment, testing, and surveillance to children and families at high risk of cancer because of genetic predisposition.

Evaluating Utility and Improving Implementation of Genomic Sequencing for Pediatric Cancer Patients in the Diverse Population and Healthcare Settings of Texas: The KidsCanSeq Study (Collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine).

This project enrolls children with cancer clinically perceived to be at increased risk of either a genetic predisposition or else having a tumor with aggressive biological activity. Genomic sequencing of germline and tumor DNA was done at Baylor College of Medicine.  An emphasis was made on extending access to genomic testing to the underserved Latino population.

Childhood Cancer Data Initiative: National Childhood Cancer Registry Data from South and West Texas Minority and Underserved Populations.

This project was initiated with a pilot supplement to the Mays Cancer Center P30 grant and will enable the submission of information relevant to cancer risks to the evolving National Children’s Cancer Registry (NCCR).

Novel strategies for the treatment of liver cancer in children.

This project funded by the Owens Foundation is conducting mechanistic studies on the novel agents for the treatment of liver tumors in children.  Novel agents were selected based on high-throughput screens in the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery.

Predictive Biomarkers and Novel Therapies in High-Risk Pediatric Liver Cancers (collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine)

This is a component of a large multi-investigator project funded by CPRIT which studies potential correlative markers in hepatoblastoma and other pediatric liver tumors.)

Genetic Risk Factors and Admixture in Hispanic children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) from South Texas and Puerto Rico.

It is well known that ALL is more common in Hispanic children and adolescents compared to non-Hispanic white children and adolescents, although little information is available regarding differences in risks in different sub-populations. This study will compare genetic features between children with ALL from South Texas of primarily Mexican ancestry with children similarly diagnosed in Puerto Rico.

This study is conducted by second-year fellow Dr. Samuel Pabon-Rivera and is supported by the Greehey Family Foundation Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Endowment.  It is a collaboration between UT Health San Antonio and the University of Puerto Rico.  Dr. Tomlinson is a faculty mentor, along with collaborators Dr. Yidong Chen and Dr. Zhao Lai.

COMING SOON, REFLECTION: Real-World Evidence for Learnings in Early Cancer Detection: A Clinical Practice Learning Program for Galleri.

This is a large population study sponsored by GRAIL, Inc and will enroll approximately 1000 individuals from San Antonio and South Texas who do not have a current diagnosis of cancer but may be considered at elevated risk for the purpose of studying the clinical utility of a cell-free DNA blood test for the early detection of cancer.

Lab Staff

Christine Aguilar, MD, MPH
Faculty Associate

Clarissa Aviles, MSHS 
Health Educator (Lower Rio Grande Valley)

Emily Berenson, MS, CGC.
Genetic Counselor

Allison Grimes, MD
Assistant Professor/Clinical

Elena Marin, CHW             
Community Health Worker

Samuel Parbon Rivera, MD
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellow

Josep-Maria Peralba-Polo, PhD       
Research Associate – Senior

Luz Perez-Parado, PhD
Research Area Spec Lead

Rachel Wyatt, MS, CGC,
Genetic Counselor

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