One of the pressing challenges in cancer genomics is to distinguish driver mutations (i.e. mutations involved in tumorigenesis) and passenger mutations (i.e. functionally neutral mutations). Current approaches to identifying driver mutations in cancer look for recurrent events in multiple samples. However, it is now acknowledged that individual tumors of the same type are highly heterogeneous and have diverse genomic alterations. We developed a novel method, called DriveRank, to discover patient-specific molecular driver events. Our probabilistic model accounts for both gene interactions and somatic mutations, which allow us to quantitatively rank a list of mutations in any individual tumor based on mutations propensity to become advantageous alterations. DriveRank was applied to Glioblastoma, Ovarian Cancer, and Breast Cancer data from The Cancer Genome Atlas, and it was shown to rank proposed driver mutations from other predictive software accurately by displaying a median rank for candidate mutations to be over the 92 percentile for all three cancers. Our results showed that the usual suspects (TP53, EGFR, RB1, APC, etc..) appeared frequently along with rarer, yet functionally important, suspects not normally classified as drivers. The DriveRank method will potentially enable the determination the optimal treatment strategy for patients through individualized assessment.
Cancer Community At Illinois Symposium 2012 April 5-6, 2012: Connecting patient care, research, and scientific advancement Symposium Premise This on-campus research symposium aims to bring together members of campus and the surrounding community to foster interdisciplinary discussions on cancer research and its affects on patient care. In order to increase understanding and awareness, we will discuss in an open forum with research talks, poster presentations, and panel discussions. We invite community members, clinicians, and researchers from UIUC and other Midwest regional institutions from departments ranging from the social sciences to basic sciences to engineering and medicine. The symposium features invited talks from nationally-recognized cancer researchers, oral presentations from UIUC faculty and students, and poster sessions. We encourage student researchers from UIUC and from other regional schools to apply (travel awards are available). About CC@I Symposium The Cancer Community at Illinois (CC@I) Symposium is organized by a group of students on the University of Illinois campus to bridge the areas of social science, basic sciences to engineering and medicine as they relate to cancer. The symposium mission is to: 1) Facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and understanding that transcends established departmental affiliation; 2) Foster an increased understanding of the social and environmental factors affecting patients; and 3) Develop unique vantage points afforded by interactive dialogue between and among the various cancer research disciplines. In order to accomplish this, the symposium will engage the local patient community through use of the nascent social and support efforts of the Mills Breast Cancer Institute, Carle Hospital, and regional clinical collaborators. If you are interested in other CC@I events or the program in general, please contact email@example.com
MD/PhD student, MSP/Bioengineering Illinois Distinguished Fellowship BS, Iowa State University (2011) Interests: cancer genomics
The Focal Point Project by the Graduate College
Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL