Date:August 16, 2012

Sharon Plon, MD, PhD

Sharon Plon, M.D., Ph.D.Professor
Department of Pediatrics,
Section of Hematology-Oncology and
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine

Faculty Member
Cell and Molecular Biology, Interdepartmental Program
The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Baylor College of Medicine

Director, Baylor Cancer Genetics Clinics and Neurofibromatosis Clinic

Director, M.D./Ph.D. Medical Scientist Training Program,
Baylor College of Medicine

Co-Director, Cancer Genetics and Genomics Program,
Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers

Principal Investigator,
Cancer Genetics and Genomics Research Laboratories
Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers

Dr. Sharon Plon
1102 Bates Street, Suite 1200
Houston, TX 77030

Phone: 832-824-4251
Fax: 832-825-4276

About Sharon Plon, M.D., Ph.D.


M.D. and Ph.D., Harvard University
Internship, University of Washington
Fellowship, Molecular Genetics Fellowship, National Cancer Institute
Fellowship, University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center – Clinical Fellowship in Medical Genetics
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Board Certifications

American Board Medical Genetics: Clinical Genetics

Selected Memberships

Member, American Society Human Genetics (ASHG)
Member, American College Medical Genetics (ACMG)
Member, American Association Cancer Research (AACR)

Clinical Special Interests

Cancer Genetics Syndromes
Breast Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility
von Hippel Lindau Syndrome
Retinoblastoma and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

Research Interests

Genetic basis of inherited susceptibility to cancer




The Research Laboratory of Sharon Plon, M.D., Ph.D.

The overall goal of my laboratory is to understand the genetic basis of inherited susceptibility to cancer. At a basic level, we are interested in studying genes that normally control genomic stability and when disrupted lead to the instability seen in cancer cells including chromosome losses and gains or aneuploidy. Disruption of these control mechanisms have been found in a large percentage of human tumors and in individuals with a predisposition to specific cancers.

On a more translational level, we have carried out analyses of a variety of autosomal recessive cancer predisposition syndromes. Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome (RTS) is associated with a high incidence of osteosarcoma. We have determined that RTS patients who develop osteosarcoma carry deleterious mutations in the RECQL4 gene and we have identified that certain disease causing mutations are associated with mislocalization of the RECQL4 protein (Wang, JNCI, 2003; Burks, GENE, 2009). Most recently, we initiated a project in collaboration with the Human Genome Sequencing Center to develop a large-scale sequencing to identify the causative mutation or chromosome imbalance in families with unusual patterns of childhood cancer. The initial pipeline based on Sanger sequencing analyzed coding regions of 45 cancer-associated genes from genomic DNA of families that have multiple children with cancer or a child with more then one cancer diagnosis (Plon, Cancer Genetics, 2011). We are also using high density oligonucleotide arrays to identify regions of copy number variation in children with cancer and congenital anomalies or learning problems (Cheung, Pediatric Blood and Cancer, 2011). We have now expanded this study to perform whole exome and whole genome analyses of cohorts of families with similar cancer patterns, for example, families with predisposition to childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia and lymphoma. This is a highly collaborative project with collaborators including: Human Genome Sequencing Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Department of Statistics at Rice University.

I am also involved in clinical research. We are currently investigating how physicians who do not have genetics training utilize genetic testing in their clinical practice to aid patients at increased risk of cancer (Plon, 2011; Dhar, 2011). We will expand this to physician interpretation of clinical whole exome data of newly diagnosed childhood cancer patients in early 2012.

Dr. Sharon Plon’s research laboratory is part of the Cancer Genetics and Genomics Program.

Laboratory Members

Principal Investigator
Sharon Plon, M.D., Ph.D.

Data Manager
Stephanie Gutierrez

Graduate Students

Katherine Haines

Ninad Oak

Jason Saliba

Genetics Counselor
Sarah Scollon, M.S., C.G.C.

Lab Manager
Ryan Zabriskie

Related Links

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program