Deciphering the epigenetics and metabolomics of Leukemia

Super Enhancers

Defining how oncogenic and tumor suppressor enhancers impact tumorigenesis in hematological and solid tumors


Dissecting the interplay between cancer cell-specific metabolic rewiring and epigenetics in T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL)

Experimental Therapeutics

Developing in vivo models of epigenetic and metabolic reprograming to test novel therapeutic strategies.

Meet the team

Daniel Herranz

Daniel Herranz, PharmD, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Herranz is Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at Rutgers University. Over the last 10 years, he has pursued a combined training in metabolism, epigenetics and how both affect human cancer development through the generation and analysis of relevant mouse models. After obtaining his doctoral training in Pharmacy from the Complutense University of Madrid, Dr. Herranz completed a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the Autonomous University of Madrid under the supervision of Dr. Manuel Serrano at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO). Here, Dr. Herranz addressed the role of Sirt1 in metabolism, cancer and aging. Specifically, he demonstrated for the first time the protective role of Sirt1 from high-fat diet-induced metabolic damage (Pfluger*, Herranz* et al., PNAS, 2008) as well as from spontaneous aging-associated cancers and high-fat diet promoted liver cancers thereby increasing the healthspan of mice (Herranz et al, Nature Communications, 2010). After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Herranz joined the Ferrando laboratory at Columbia University in April 2011 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. During his postdoctoral studies, Dr. Herranz uncovered N-Me as the long-sought missing link in the regulation of MYC by NOTCH1 in T-cells. As such, N-Me is a T-cell specific Myc oncogenic enhancer controlled by Notch1 that is critically required for normal T-cell development and for NOTCH1-induced T-ALL generation and maintenance (Herranz et al, Nature Medicine, 2014). Moreover, Dr. Herranz’s research unveiled that metabolic reprogramming after loss of the PTEN tumor suppressor gene can drive resistance to NOTCH1 inhibition in vivo and revealed a prominent role of glutaminolysis in NOTCH1-driven T-ALL, opening new therapeutic avenues (Herranz et al, Nature Medicine, 2015). Dr. Herranz's group at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey works on the discovery and characterization of enhancer regions critical for cancer cell survival and proliferation, as well as on the interplay between metabolism and epigenetics as a pathogenic mechanism in cancer using T-ALL as a model. The long-term goal of the Herranz lab is to find new therapeutic targets for the treatment of this disease. Full Publication List

In his free time, you can probably find Dr. Herranz at any of the concerts happening around the New York City area. He is a huge fan of Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Wilco, The National and many others! He is also an avid mid-distance runner (10K to half-marathon distances are his favorites, although he recently completed the NYC marathon) and swimming (he proudly swam from Alcatraz to the San Francisco Bay!). More broadly, he is in love with all that New York City has to offer!


Olga Lancho, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Olga earned her degree in Biochemistry from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). Her undergraduate work was performed at the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa under the supervision of María Luisa Toribio on an in vitro model of Tregs generation by Mesecnchymal Stem Cells. She obtained her PhD on Molecular Biology in 2017 in the same lab, studying whether Sfrp1 regulates T-cell development and Notch-dependent T-ALL pathogenesis. Olga joined the Herranz Lab at Rutgers University last October as a Postdoctoral Fellow. During this period, she is focusing on the study of metabolic and epigenetic mechanisms of resistance to therapy in T-ALL using mouse models.

Outside of the lab Olga loves to travel around the world, she is always ready to visit different countries and to dicover new cultures. She also likes nature. She loves snowboarding during the Winter and hiking during the Summer season. Moreover, she is a fan of music, cinema and theater.


Luca Tottone, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

After obtaining a Master Degree in Medical Biotechnology, with a thesis centered on the oncogenic role of miR-223 in acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Luca started a PhD in Molecular Medicine at La Sapienza University in Rome, under the guidance of Prof. Isabella Screpanti. There, Luca’s work addressed different strategies aimed at inhibiting Notch receptors in T-ALL. While he mainly focused his attention on the epigenetic mechanisms driving aberrant Notch3 over-expression in T-ALL, he also collaborated with the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Sapienza Department of Chemistry on the identification and patenting of a novel chalcone derivative showing Notch1 inhibiting activity. He obtained his PhD on December 2016 and continued as a post-doc researcher at IIT during 2017. In March 2018, Luca joined the Herranz Lab at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey as a postdoctoral fellow, where he is working on long-range transcriptional regulatory elements, as well as, on the metabolic and epigenetic mechanisms driving T-ALL resistance in cancer therapy.

When he takes off the lab coat, it’s time for sports and nature. A deep love for wildness brings him to the mountains for some rock climbing, or to dive below the sea surface for a spearfishing trip…but he does not always come back home with a fish for dinner!


Victoria da Silva, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Victoria earned her Master´s degree in Molecular Medicine in the University of Santiago de Compostela, Victoria completed a Ph.D. in Biomedicine from the University of Barcelona, under the supervision of Dr. Purificación Muñoz at the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program (PEBC). There, Victoria addressed the molecular and functional alterations of epithelial and cancer stem cells during tumor initiation and progression. Her studies demonstrated that alterations in the homeostasis and dynamics of hair follicle stem cells have an impact on skin squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) development. Using orthotopic mouse models, she described changes in the frequency and features of cancer stem cells at late stages of SCC progression. She found that regulatory mechanisms that control cancer stem cell proliferation and dissemination change in advanced SCCs, correlating with aggressive tumor growth and enhanced metastasis. She also described that the functional deficiency of DICER1, a major miRNA biogenesis protein, promotes the acquisition of cancer stem cell properties and metastatic capacity. In the Herranz lab, Victoria is focusing on the impact of oncogenic and tumor suppressor enhancers during tumorigenesis in solid tumors.

In her free time, she likes to travel, visiting different towns and cities and tasting the traditional food. She also likes experimental photography and when she has a chance, she will try to get a great shot of you.


Patricia Renck Nunes, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Patricia earned her Master’s degree from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Her thesis aimed at optimizing the generation of conditional knockouts via CRISPR/Cas9. She joined the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) for her Ph.D. in Molecular Life Sciences, which was supported by a fellowship from the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds. Her research focused on elucidating the transcriptional regulation and function of the telomeric long noncoding RNA TERRA. This entailed the development of a system to upregulate TERRA expression from specific telomeres and led to the discovery of changes in subtelomeric heterochromatin caused by TERRA. In collaboration with a postdoctoral fellow, she demonstrated that TERRA is expressed from a large number of chromosome ends and identified two types of TERRA promoters.

Patricia joined the Herranz Lab at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey as a postdoctoral fellow in April 2020, where she is working on novel therapeutic targets in T-ALL

In her free time, she loves to read, travel and spend time with her family.


Shirley Luo, BSc

Lab Manager

Shirley earned a degree in Genetics with a Certificate in Computational Genetics from Rutgers University in May 2018. Her undergraduate research was done in Michael Verzi’s lab in the Human Genetics Institute with Postdoctoral Fellow, Lei Chen. Her research focused on studying the role of HNF4 in regulating brush border genes in various tissues using a mouse model. She joins the Herranz Lab as a Lab Technician with the hope of gaining more experience in cancer research and to develop a better understanding on the epigenetics and metabolomics of leukemia. Her career goals are to either go into clinical research or medicine.

Outside of the lab, Shirley volunteers as an EMT for North Brunswick First Aid and Rescue Squad. She enjoys discovering new places to eat and spending time with family. During the warmer months, she enjoys spending time outdoors, but in the colder months you can find her cozying up indoors enjoying a movie or a TV series.

Herranz Lab Alumni

Matthew Lawlor

Rotating Grad student 2019-2020

Naureen Hameed

Rotating Grad student 2019-2020

Mihir Desai

Rotating Undergrad 2018-2019

Danielle Millick

Rotating Grad student 2017-2018

Sandra Tetteh

Rotating Grad student 2017

Contact us

We are currently seeking talented post-doctoral fellows with a strong passion for translational research to join our lab. Please Click here for more information and use the form below to contact Professor Herranz about open positions.