Denada Dibra, PhD
Department of Genetics, Division of VP, Research
About Dr. Dibra
Dr. Dibra is an Instructor in the Department of Genetics. Originally from Albania, she received her BS degree at Louisiana State University, and her PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences from LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her postdoctoral training at MD Anderson Cancer Center in the Department of Pediatrics, focusing on the biology of IL27 in tumor and under inflammatory conditions. She found that mutant p53 induces liver inflammation, steatosis, and fibrosis when combined with absence of IL27 signaling. Indeed these mice develop with age hepatocyte necrosis, immune cell infiltration, fibrosis, and micro- and macro-steatosis, all phenotypic characteristics similar to non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) patients. Furthermore, she showed that IL27 signaling also significantly shortened the survival of mice with tumors expressing either one or both copies of the mutant p53 gene in Li-Fraumeni mouse models. Her overall goal is to combine her training in tumor immunology with the genetics aspects of tumor initiation and progression to better understand how tumors oncogenes and the microenvironment communicate, with special focus in breast cancer. Understanding such communication will yield better therapeutic targets for cancer therapies.
Present Title & Affiliation
Instructor, Department of Genetics, Division of Basic Science Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Education & Training
|2010||Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, PHD, Comparative Biomedical Sciences|
|2004||Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, BS, Biochemistry|
|2010-2015||Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX|
- Dibra D, Xia X, Gagea M, Lozano G, Li S. A spontaneous model of spondyloarthropathies that develops bone loss and pathological bone formation: A process regulated by IL27RA-/- and mutant-p53. PLoS One 13(3):e0193485, 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 29494633.
- Dibra D, Mitra A, Newman M, Xia X, Keenan C, Cutrera JJ, Mathis JM, Wang XJ, Myers J, Li S. IL27 controls skin tumorigenesis via accumulation of ETAR-positive CD11b cells in the pre-malignant skin. Oncotarget 7(47):77138-77151, 2016. PMID: 27738312.
- Dibra D, Mitra A, Newman M, Xia X, Cutrera JJ, Gagea M, Kleinerman ES, Lozano G, Li S. Lack of Immunomodulatory Interleukin-27 Enhances Oncogenic Properties of Mutant p53 In Vivo. Clin Cancer Res 22(15):3876-83, 2016. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 26979394.
- Dibra D, Xia X, Mitra A, Cutrera JJ, Lozano G, Li S. Mutant p53 in concert with an IL27 Receptor α deficiency causes spontaneous liver inflammation, fibrosis, and steatosis. Hepatology 63(3):1000-12, 2016. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 26637970.
- Yan J, Kong LY, Hu J, Gabrusiewicz K, Dibra D, Xia X, Heimberger AB, Li S. FGL2 as a Multimodality Regulator of Tumor-Mediated Immune Suppression and Therapeutic Target in Gliomas. J Natl Cancer Inst 107(8), 2015. e-Pub 2015. PMID: 25971300.
- Dibra D, Mishra L, Li S. Molecular mechanisms of oncogene-induced inflammation and inflammation-sustained oncogene activation in gastrointestinal tumors: an under-appreciated symbiotic relationship. Biochim Biophys Acta 1846(1):152-60, 2014. e-Pub 2014. PMID: 24821201.
- Satelli A, Mitra A, Cutrera JJ, Devarie M, Xia X, Ingram DR, Dibra D, Somaiah N, Torres KE, Ravi V, Ludwig JA, Kleinerman ES, Li S. Universal marker and detection tool for human sarcoma circulating tumor cells. Cancer Res 74(6):1645-50, 2014. e-Pub 2014. PMID: 24448245.
- Dibra D, Li S. The cell-to-cell coordination between activated T cells and CpG-stimulated macrophages synergistically induce elevated levels of IL-10 via NF-κB1, STAT3, and CD40/CD154. Cell Commun Signal 11:95, 2013. e-Pub 2013. PMID: 24330710.
- Cutrera J, Dibra D, Satelli A, Xia X, Li S. Intricacies for posttranslational tumor-targeted cytokine gene therapy. Mediators Inflamm 2013:378971, 2013. e-Pub 2013. PMID: 24369443.
- Dibra D, Cutrera J, Xia X, Kallakury B, Mishra L, Li S. Interleukin-30: a novel antiinflammatory cytokine candidate for prevention and treatment of inflammatory cytokine-induced liver injury. Hepatology 55(4):1204-14, 2012. e-Pub 2012. PMID: 22105582.
- Dibra D, Cutrera JJ, Li S. Coordination between TLR9 signaling in macrophages and CD3 signaling in T cells induces robust expression of IL-30. J Immunol 188(8):3709-15, 2012. e-Pub 2012. PMID: 22407920.
- Cutrera J, Dibra D, Xia X, Hasan A, Reed S, Li S. Discovery of a linear peptide for improving tumor targeting of gene products and treatment of distal tumors by IL-12 gene therapy. Mol Ther 19(8):1468-77, 2011. e-Pub 2011. PMID: 21386825.
- Dibra D, Cutrera J, Xia X, Li S. WSX1 expression in tumors induces immune tolerance via suppression of effector immune cells. PLoS One 6(4):e19072, 2011. e-Pub 2011. PMID: 21559505.
- Cutrera J, Dibra D, Xia X, Li S. Enhancement of reporter gene detection sensitivity by insertion of specific mini-peptide-coding sequences. Cancer Gene Ther 17(2):131-40, 2010. e-Pub 2009. PMID: 19713998.
- Dibra D, Cutrera JJ, Xia X, Birkenbach MP, Li S. Expression of WSX1 in tumors sensitizes IL-27 signaling-independent natural killer cell surveillance. Cancer Res 69(13):5505-13, 2009. e-Pub 2009. PMID: 19549909.
- Dibra D, Li S.. Role of IL12 family in regulation of antitumor immune response. In: Targeted Cancer Immune Therapy. Springer, 2009.
Grant & Contract Support
|Title:||Uncovering Mutant TP53 Dependencies in Spontaneously-Arising Triple Negative Breast Cancer|
|Funding Source:||SU2C; Philip A. Sharp Award Innovation in Collaboration|
|Title:||Uncovering how p53 suppresses liver tumorigenesis under metabolic challenges|
|Funding Source:||HCC Spore Career Enhancement Award|