Biomarker discovery in kidney cancer

A key motivator of my research is applying genomics to complex diseases with the goal of discovering clinically relevant signatures that might be used to improve patient care. In graduate school, I led a project applying next-generation sequencing technologies to kidney cancer tumor and normal tissues to assess DNA methylation, copy number variation, and microsatellite instability associated with kidney cancer etiology and progression. This project was a collaboration with Drs. Rick Myers and Devin Absher at HudsonAlpha, and Dr. Jim Brooks at Stanford. One of the most exciting findings in this project was the identification of a panel of high performing tissue diagnostic biomarkers. As a postdoctoral fellow, I provided major analytical contributions to a study with Drs. Guru Sonpavde and Eddy Yang at UAB identifying kinase gene expression associated with kidney cancer metastases compared to kidney tumor or normal tissue, identifying potential new therapeutic targets. My current efforts include designing assays and analytical workflows including machine learning techniques for determining DNA methylation signatures from cell-free whole genome bisulfite profiles in patient urine and blood and developing non-invasive biomarkers for early identification of cancer, as well as predictive markers of patient response to therapy and monitoring for recurrent disease.

Publications

. The role of DNA methylation in renal cell carcinoma. Molecular Diagnosis & Therapy (Invited Review), 2018.

PDF Project

. Kinase gene expression profiling of metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma tissue identifies potential new therapeutic targets. PLoS One, 2016.

PDF Dataset Project

. DNA methylation profiling reveals novel diagnostic biomarkers in renal cell carcinoma. BMC Medicine, 2014.

PDF Project Poster Slides