Next-generation sequencing has revolutionised our understanding of cancer – shedding light on novel cancer genes, revealing many of the exogenous and endogenous processes responsible for generating mutations, as well as uncovering the complex evolutionary histories of many tumours. However, despite these advances, there is currently no mechanisms to standardise the complex analyses that are used or efficient mechanisms for data sharing for cancer. There is a need to explore evolutionary themes across cancers to obtain an in-depth understanding of the processes moulding the cancer genome and identify common therapeutic opportunities. The work undertaken for this project will involve adapting a standardised bioinformatics pipeline for exploration of cancer sequencing data. The pipeline will seek to infer the somatic catalogue of mutations and copy number events as well as the evolutionary history of tumours, utilizing multi-region and single sample exome sequencing data and RNA sequencing data. Evolutionary themes across lung and breast cancer will then be explored, to identify similarities and differences in the evolutionary trajectories of tumours from diverse cell-types of origin. The student will also be expected to explore evolutionary trajectories in response to treatment to elucidate molecular mechanisms of response and resistance towards the delivery of precision immune-oncology. These analyses will enhance our understanding of therapeutic vulnerabilities in these solid tumours which is essential to enhance sensitivity in poorly responding patients. More detailed information about the research project is available on request from Nenna Kanu.
This is a 3-year PhD studentship funded by Cancer Research UK and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which covers tuition fees at Home rate and a stipend of £21,285 per year.