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Advancement: Creating and using immune cell splicing signatures to characterize tumor composition

Speaker Name: 
Alexis Thornton
Speaker Title: 
PhD Student
Speaker Organization: 
Biomolecular Engineering & Bioinformatics PhD
Start Time: 
Monday, June 1, 2020 - 3:30pm
End Time: 
Monday, June 1, 2020 - 4:30pm
Location: 
Zoom - https://ucsc.zoom.us/j/92835951415

Abstract: Cancer immunotherapies are promising but are often unsuccessful due to the limited knowledge of tumor-infiltrating immune cells, which influence tumor progression, therapeutic response, and therapeutic resistance. The lack of predictive biomarkers for immunotherapy makes successfully matching patients to drugs difficult. Several immune gene signatures have been created to indicate the presence of different immune cell populations. There is evidence that transcription and alternative splicing independently affect immune responses, underscoring the need to incorporate immune splicing information into the analysis of the tumor microenvironment. However, there are no comparable signatures for splice events, despite alternative splicing being an important mechanism in the regulation of both immune responses and cancer cells. Using public data sets, I aim to create a database of splicing signatures that represent immune cell states and use thes! e signatures to quantify cell types in the tumor microenvironment across The Cancer Genome Atlas. This will allow me to stratify patients and identify novel splicing biomarkers. In addition, I can use this splicing analysis to detect splicing derived tumor-specific neoantigens, which can be used in the development of individualized cancer vaccinations to trigger T-cells to the tumor. This project is an important step in creating a personalized approach to cancer treatments and creating a resource for future splicing immune research.

Event Type: 
Adancement/Defense
Advisor: 
Angela Brooks
Graduate Program: 
Biomolecular Engineering & Bioinformatics