Jonathan M. Hernandez, M.D.

Jonathan M. Hernandez, M.D.
Head, Metastasis Biology Section
Chief, Surgical Oncology Section
Associate Professor of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Dr. Jonathan Hernandez is a surgical oncologist and hepatopancreatobiliary surgeon. He specializes in the treatment of pancreatic tumors and tumors of the liver and bile ducts. Dr. Hernandez's research efforts focus on elucidating the mechanisms through which tumor cells coopt the microenvironment of distant organs to form life-threatening metastases. The goal of his research program is to provide patients undergoing resection of localized tumor(s) with novel adjunctive therapies to prevent recurrence of their disease at a later time. 

Board Certifications
American Board of Surgery: General Surgery
American Board of Surgery: Complex General Surgical Oncology

Areas of Expertise

1) hepatopancreatobiliary oncologic surgery, 2) pancreatic cancer, 3) colorectal liver metastasis, 4) cholangiocarcinoma, 5) ex vivo human tissue models, 6) cancer cell biology

Top Doctor Washingtonian magazine 2020

Contact Info

Jonathan M. Hernandez, M.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 10, Room 4-3740
Bethesda, MD 20892
Ph: 240-858-3610

Exvivo Human Tissue Model: Hernandez Lab Research Interests

Dr. Hernandez’s research program focuses on interrogating the molecular underpinnings of metastatic colonization in order to interrupt the process prior to its completion. This line of investigation corresponds with a critical need in biomedical research, as metastases are the cause of greater than 90% of cancer related deaths. For patients undergoing resection, identifying and targeting the mechanisms that support the survival and outgrowth of latent, disseminated tumor cells holds great promise for the prevention of tumor recurrence. The lab has utilized complex cDNA and CRISPR-Cas9 screens to identify genes that conspire to drive the outgrowth of disseminated tumor cells, which ostensibly appear to be involved in epigenetic reprogramming, compensatory metabolism, and extracellular matrix deposition and remodeling. Current efforts are focused on elucidation of mechanisms and signal transduction pathway involvement for the identified genes of interest, to unveil clinically translatable targets. The lab utilizes multi-photon intravital microscopy to mechanistically interrogate and visualize the dynamics of metastatic outgrowth, including the roles of supporting stromal and immune cells. Moreover, the lab has begun pioneering first-ever human tissue models by repurposing perfusion systems to sustain resected tumor-bearing liver and peritoneum for prolonged ex vivo animation. We envision these models will enable us to 1) perform additional screens and validation experiments in human tissue for the first time, 2) personalize investigation of the metastatic cascade by leveraging multi-photon imaging with an individual patient’s tumor cells, which will be dissociated, labelled, and subsequently injected into the perfusate to seed that patient’s metastatic target tissue, and 3) utilized tumor-bearing tissue as a platform for drug discovery and evaluation of novel drug-delivery combinations and platforms, which we think has the potential to transcend multiple disciplines in translational medicine to permit investigations and manipulations not previously possible.  

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology
  1. Hoshino A, Costa-Silva B, Shen TL, Rodrigues G, Hashimoto A, Tesic Mark M, Molina H, Kohsaka S, Di Giannatale A, Ceder S, Singh S, Williams C, Soplop N, Uryu K, Pharmer L, King T, Bojmar L, Davies AE, Ararso Y, Zhang T, Zhang H, Hernandez J, Weiss JM, Dumont-Cole VD, Kramer K, Wexler LH, Narendran A, Schwartz GK, Healey JH, Sandstrom P, Labori KJ, Kure EH, Grandgenett PM, Hollingsworth MA, de Sousa M, Kaur S, Jain M, Mallya K, Batra SK, Jarnagin WR, Brady MS, Fodstad O, Muller V, Pantel K, Minn AJ, Bissell MJ, Garcia BA, Kang Y, Rajasekhar VK, Ghajar CM, Matei I, Peinado H, Bromberg J, Lyden D
    Nature. 527(7578): 329-35, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Costa-Silva B, Aiello NM, Ocean AJ, Singh S, Zhang H, Thakur BK, Becker A, Hoshino A, Mark MT, Molina H, Xiang J, Zhang T, Theilen TM, García-Santos G, Williams C, Ararso Y, Huang Y, Rodrigues G, Shen TL, Labori KJ, Lothe IM, Kure EH, Hernandez J, Doussot A, Ebbesen SH, Grandgenett PM, Hollingsworth MA, Jain M, Mallya K, Batra SK, Jarnagin WR, Schwartz RE, Matei I, Peinado H, Stanger BZ, Bromberg J, Lyden D.
    Nature Cell Biology. 17(6): 816-26, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Okada T, Sinha S, Esposito I, Schiavon G, López-Lago MA, Su W, Pratilas CA, Abele C, Hernandez JM, Ohara M, Okada M, Viale A, Heguy A, Socci ND, Sapino A, Seshan VE, Long S, Inghirami G, Rosen N, Giancotti FG.
    Nature Cell Biology. 17(1): 81-94, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Hernandez JM, Tsalatsanis A, Humphries LA, Miladinovic B, Djulbegovic B, Velanovich V.
    Annals of Surgery. 259(6): 1208-14, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Hernandez J, Mullinax J, Clark W, Toomey P, Villadolid D, Morton C, Ross S, Rosemurgy A
    Annals of Surgery. 250(1): 76-80, 2009. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Hernandez graduated from medical school with honors from the University of Florida, and completed general surgery training at the University of South Florida. During his residency, Dr. Hernandez spent two years at the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute interrogating molecular diagnostics for liver metastases and miRNA-mediated mechanisms of metastatic spread with the support of NIH funding. Following residency, Dr. Hernandez completed fellowship training in both surgical oncology and hepatopancreatobiliary surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. During his fellowships, Dr. Hernandez spent an additional two years in dedicated basic research studying metastatic colonization as a scholar in the Cell Biology Program of the Sloan Kettering Institute supported by NIH funding and a grant from America’s HepatoPancreatoBiliary Association. Dr. Hernandez was also a visiting investigator in the Cell and Developmental Biology Department of Weill Medical College of Cornell University studying metastatic niche evolution with funding support from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  Dr. Hernandez has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has contributed book chapters in numerous authoritative surgical textbooks.

Name Position
Kirsten Remmert, Ph.D. Staff Scientist
Surajit Sinha, Ph.D. Research Fellow
Hanna Hong Postbaccalaureate Fellow (CRTA)
Allen Luna Postbaccalaureate Fellow (CRTA)
Imani Alexander Special Volunteer
Wendy Barrios-Aquino Patient Care Coordinator (Contr.)
Claudia Espinoza Patient Care Coordinator (Contr.)
Cathleen Hannah R.N. Research Nurse
Stacy Joyce PA-C Physician Assistant (Contr.)
Tahsin Khan M.D. Clinical Fellow
Alexander Rossi M.D. Clinical Fellow
Areeba Saif M.D. Clinical Fellow
Martha Teke M.D. Clinical Fellow
Emily Verbus M.D. Clinical Fellow
Dr. James McDonald
Dr. James McDonald Fellow 2018-2020

University of South Florida General Surgery Residency 

Dr. Shreya Gupta
Dr. Shreya Gupta Fellow 2018-2020

University Hospitals Case/Western Reserve University Medical Center General Surgery Residency 

Dr. Reed Ayabe
Dr. Reed Ayabe Fellow 2017-2019

Matched: Complex General Surgical Oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center 

Dr. Samantha M. Ruff
Dr. Samantha M. Ruff Chief Fellow 2017-2019

Northwell General Surgery Program                                     

Dr. Michael Wach
Dr. Michael Wach Fellow 2017-2019

University at Buffalo Department of Surgery General Surgery Residency 

Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Clinical Trial Conversation