Department of Cell Systems & Anatomy

CSA Faculty


Robin J. Leach, Ph.D.



University of Utah, 1984


MED 552C
(210) 567-6947


Dr. Leach is a molecular geneticist who works on the genetics of complex diseases. In addition to her appointment in the Department of Cell Systems & Anatomy, she is appointed in the Department of Urology where she is the chief of the Division of Research. She is the co-leader of the Biobanking & Genome Analysis for the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC), an NCI-designated cancer center. In addition, she chairs the biobanking and education committees for the CTRC. She has over 150 peer-reviewed publications.


Using molecular genetic approaches, she studies a number of diseases including prostate, bladder and testicular cancers, diabetes, schizophrenia and Paget's disease of the bone. In addition, her laboratory has been involved in identifying and validating biomarkers for prostate cancer in collaboration with Dr. Ian Thompson. This work has been funded for the past 15 years by the National Cancer Institute's Early Detection Research Network. This study, known as SABOR (San Antonio Biomarkers Of Risk for prostate cancer) involves screening men for prostate cancer in the greater San Antonio area. Dr. Leach's laboratory has been attempting to identify novel genomic markers for prognosis with prostate cancer. In addition, they are working on identify factors that contribute to cancer progression in bladder cancer, especially in obese individuals, who have a significantly higher incidence of dying from this disease.

Dr. Leach is co-leader of the Cell Biology, Genetics and Molecular Medicine Discipline which is part of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) graduate program. She also chairs the curriculum committee for the IBMS.


Dr. Leach is a past recipient of the Dean's Award for "Exceptional Graduate Teaching" and the "Presidential Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching."


In addition, she is a "Master Teacher" at UTHSCSA and a "Distinguished Teaching Professor" award by the University of Texas Board of Regents. She is involved in teaching numerous graduate school courses including the Fundamentals of Biomedical Sciences course where she coordinators the curriculum on genetics and personalized medicine. She also is an instructor in Genes & Development and Graduate Colloquium.


Dr. Leach is the principal investigator for a P20 grant from the National Cancer Institute where she works closely with faculty from both UTHSCSA and UTSA to help develop curriculum on bioinformatics. She directs the summer program designed to give quantitative scientists an opportunity to become involved in cancer health disparity research.

Recent Publications:
Grill S, Fallah M, Leach RJ, Thompson IM, Freedland S, Hemminki K, Ankerst DP. Incorporation of Detailed Family History from the Swedish Family-Cancer Database into the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial Risk Calculator. J Urol. 2014 Sep 18. pii: S0022-5347(14)04411-5.


Figg WD, Chau CH, Price DK, Till C, Goodman PJ, Cho Y, Varella-Garcia M, Reichardt JK, Tangen CM, Leach RJ, van Bokhoven A, Thompson IM, Lucia MS. Androgen receptor CAG repeat length and TMPRSS2:ETS prostate cancer risk: results From the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. Urology. 2014 Jul;84(1):127-31.


Ankerst DP, Hoefler J, Bock S, Goodman PJ, Vickers A, Hernandez J, Sokoll LJ, Sanda MG, Wei JT, Leach RJ, Thompson IM. Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial risk calculator 2.0 for the prediction of low- vs high-grade prostate cancer. Urology. 2014 Jun;83(6):1362-7.


Medina EA, Shi X, Grayson MH, Ankerst DP, Livi CB, Medina MV, Thompson IM Jr, Leach RJ. The diagnostic value of adiponectin multimers in healthy men undergoing screening for prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Feb;23(2):309-15.


Blackburn A, Wilson D, Gelfond J, Yao L, Hernandez J, Thompson IM, Leach RJ, Lehman DM. Validation of copy number variants associated with prostate cancer risk and prognosis. Urol Oncol. 2014 Jan;32(1):44.e15-20.


Representative Publications:
Thompson IM Jr, Leach RJ, Ankerst DP. Focusing PSA testing on detection of high-risk prostate cancers by incorporating patient preferences into decision making. JAMA. 2014 Sep 10;312(10):995-6.


Mohamed GH, Gelfond JA, Nicolas MM, Brand TC, Sarvis JA, Leach RJ, Johnson-Pais TL. Genomic characterization of testis cancer: association of alterations with outcome of clinical stage 1 mixed germ cell nonseminomatous germ cell tumor of the testis. Urology. 2012 Aug;80(2):485.e1-5.


Beuten J, Gelfond JA, Martinez-Fierro ML, Weldon KS, Crandall AC, Rojas-Martinez A, Thompson IM, Leach RJ. Association of chromosome 8q variants with prostate cancer risk in Caucasian and Hispanic men. Carcinogenesis. 2009 Aug;30(8):1372-9.

Dr. Leach currently mentors 3 doctoral students and 2 master's degree students.


In addition, her laboratory has several technicians who work for the Biobanking & Genome Analysis or assist with the Clinical Trials being conducted in the Department of Urology. She is also managing the research division in the Department of Urology.