The following are general project directions that utilize some combination of “measure, model and perturb”.
Understanding the genetic heterogeneity of cancers
A major reason for the lack of progress in cancer treatments is that different tumors from patients with the same diagnosis (e.g. diffuse large B cell lymphoma) can be very different. Indeed, it is possible to have two patients with the same disease that have nothing in common at the molecular level. Thus we need better approaches to understanding how different cancers are similar and how they differ. In our laboratory, we have developed high throughput sequencing as an approach for better understanding cancers.
Discerning the connections between the alterations in the genome, epigenome and transcriptome in cancer
Although the fields of epigenetics and genetics have been evolving in an increasingly divergent fashion, our data (and that of others) suggest that the two processes are highly interrelated. We are developing computational and laboratory methods to better discern these connections in order to better understand how we can better target cancers.
Developing novel models for hematopoiesis and cancer
As we discover the tremendous of heterogeneity of cancers, it becomes obvious that current methods for modeling cancers including transgenic mouse models and cell lines capture only a tiny fraction of the observed heterogeneity. We are exploring different methods of modeling cancers that reflect the heterogeneity of tumors in patients.
Developing strategies for personalized therapy in cancer
The ultimate goal of all cancer research is to cure cancer. We are developing the methods to understand the aspects of tumor biology that are associated with response to targeted therapies in cancer. We are also developing approaches to apply these methods in patients to preferentially treat those patients who are most likely to benefit from therapy.