Team Bios

The Neurogenesis and Brain Tumors Lab at Mayo Clinic

Dr. Guerrero Cazares' Neurogenesis and Brain Tumors Laboratory at Mayo Clinic investigates migration of neural progenitor cells and the interaction of glioblastoma with the neurogenic niche.

  • Hugo Guerrero Cazares, M.D., Ph.D.
    • Principal Investigator
    • Dr. Guerrero Cazares' research is focused on the study of brain tumor cell migration and the interaction of brain tumor cells with neural progenitor cells.

      Dr. Guerrero Cazares obtained his medical and doctoral degrees from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. He then continued his training as a fellow in the department of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

  • Anna Carrano, Ph.D.
    • Postdoctoral Fellow
    • Dr. Carrano utilizes her deep understanding of brain molecular biology in health and disease to study the role of cerebrospinal fluid in the invasiveness and proliferation of glioblastoma.

      During her postdoctoral training at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Carrano's main focus was to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms by which neuroinflammation and inflammatory mediators affect presence of Alzheimer's disease hallmarks in the brain, such as amyloid-beta and tau aggregates, utilizing transgenic mouse models and somatic brain transgenesis by delivery of adeno-associated virus particles.

      Dr. Carrano graduated from the University of Milan and received her master's degree in medical biotechnology and molecular medicine. She then moved to the Netherlands, where she obtained her doctorate in neuroscience from the Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam Rotterdam at the Vrije University Medical Center in Amsterdam. Her doctoral research revolved around the identification and characterization of pathological pathways crucial for Alzheimer's disease development and blood‐brain barrier alterations.

  • Natanael Zarco, Ph.D.
    • Postdoctoral Fellow
    • Dr. Zarco's research interests are focused on understanding the molecular mechanism by which cancer stem cells promote tumor growth and on developing efficient gene therapy strategies. His expertise is in cell cycle, cellular quiescence, apoptosis, and molecular biology of cancer and gene therapy.

      Dr. Zarco obtained his doctorate in cellular and molecular neurobiology from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) in Mexico City. During his doctoral research he worked in two main aspects of growth arrest specific 1 (GAS1) expression and regulation. The first main aspect was focused on the characterization of GAS1 expression and distribution in the central nervous system; the second centered on GAS1 transcriptional regulation and its molecular mechanisms of action.

  • Montserrat A. Lara-Velazquez, M.D.
    • Graduate Student
    • Dr. Lara-Velazquez is interested in the effects of cerebrospinal fluid on the malignancy of glioblastoma cells. More specifically, she is focused on investigating the role that molecules in cerebrospinal fluid can have in the regulation of glioblastoma cell dispersal and the molecular pathways by which glioblastoma cells can respond to boost cell migration.

      Dr. Lara-Velazquez is completing the doctoral portion of the M.D.-Ph.D. track in the Plan of Combined Studies in Medicine (PECEM) program at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has a special interest in brain sciences, and is inspired to learn about tumor biology from the molecular basis of tumor formation to migration and invasion mechanisms for cancer metastasis. She is mentored by Dr. Guerrero Cazares and Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, M.D.

  • Emily S. Norton
    • Graduate Student
    • Emily Norton is a graduate student in the Neurobiology of Disease Ph.D. program at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She is studying the origin of brain tumor stem cells and how the interaction with neurogenic factors contained within the subventricular zone and the cerebrospinal fluid contribute to glioblastoma growth, invasiveness, and malignancy.

      Emily received her Bachelor of Science in physiology and neurobiology from the University of Connecticut in 2017. There, she studied changes in human ventricle system health associated with aging and disease as well as neural stem cell differentiation and ependymal cell generation in embryonic and postnatal development. She is motivated to use her understanding of these processes to clarify the effects of the neurogenic niche on glioblastoma biology and prognosis.

  • Carlos de la Rosa Prieto, Ph.D.
    • Visiting Scientist
    • Dr. de la Rosa Prieto is a scientist and associate professor of human anatomy and embryology at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Albacete, Spain. He studies the integration of human brain cancer cells into the neurogenic niche in the subventricular zone.

      From 2002 to 2007, Dr. de la Rosa Prieto studied biological sciences at the University of Valencia, Spain. He obtained his doctoral degree at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in 2011. His doctoral research focused on adult neurogenesis in the vomeronasal system. He then studied the process of adult neurogenesis in the subventricular zone and subgranular zone and the involvement of the olfactory system in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

      During his post-doctoral period at Wallenberg Stem Cell Center in Lund, Sweden, Dr. de la Rosa Prieto studied how the presence of brain injury from stroke modulates the behavior of human induced pluripotent stem cells grafted into the subventricular zone with the research group of Olle Lindvall and Zaal Kokaiza.

  • Stephanie Jeanneret
    • Undergraduate Intern
    • Stephanie Jeanneret is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. She is studying to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a minor in chemistry. During the summers she works with Dr. Guerrero Cazares and his team, studying the interaction of the human neurogenic niche and brain tumor cells. Specifically, she is investigating these interactions in vivo on glioblastoma.
  • Jordan S. Phillipps
    • Undergraduate Intern
    • Jordan Phillipps is a student intern in the Basic Research in Neuroscience and Cancer program coordinated by Mayo Clinic and the University of North Florida and an undergraduate at the University of North Florida. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology with a concentration in biomedical sciences.

      Jordan aspires to be a neurosurgeon with an M.D.-Ph.D. focus. His research interests reside in the field of neuro-oncology, particularly topics relating to the blood-brain-barrier and glioblastoma. He has a strong passion for neuroscience and is eager to learn about the mechanisms by which brain tumor cells originate, migrate and interact with neural progenitor cells.

  • Haydee Lopez
    • Research Administrator
    • Haydee Lopez is the administrative assistant for research in the Mayo Clinic Department of Neurosurgery. She is responsible for handling all administrative aspects of the Neurogenesis and Brain Tumors Lab.

      Haydee has more than 22 years of experience in the health care industry, mainly at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where she coordinated cancer center research and facilitated successful collaborations with a wide range of directors, researchers, patients and clinical colleagues.