Awarded in 2018
Home Department: Cancer Biology, Medicine
Faculty Advisors: Aaron Newman (Biomedical Data Science) and Michael Clarke (Medicine—Oncology)
Research Title: Genomic Dissection of Tumor Initiating Cells by In Silico Cytometry
Research Description: Tumors are driven by subpopulations of tumor-initiating cells (TICs) that self-renew, sustain growth, and are resistant to therapy. However, little is understood about the identity of TICs, their interplay with other tumor subpopulations, and the influence of somatic mutations on their activity. Gunsagar proposes to use single-cell RNA-sequencing to profile the cellular heterogeneity of human breast cancers and understand how tumor microenvironment and somatic mutations influence TIC function and patient outcomes. This work involves the combination of computational modeling with traditional biological assays, resulting in the development of CIBERSORT as a favorable modeling method to integrate with the single-cell RNA sequencing. This will help progress the work in developing TIC-directed therapies.
Gunsagar has defended his thesis and is now doing clinical rotations.