Macro-evolution in cancer

Macro-evolution in cancer

Project details

Macro-evolution in cancer is characterised by rapid and frequently catastrophic evolutionary events. This includes chromothripsis (chromosome shattering), the breakage-fusion-bridge mechanism, and the acquisition of extra-chromosomal DNA such as neochromosomes. The project will involve the investigation of different forms of macro-evolution, aiming to identify their underlying causes using pan-cancer data and integration of imaging and multi-'omics data.

A major focus will be understanding how neochromosomes are formed. Our previous work revealed the chaotic mutational processes that underlie their formation and evolution (Garsed et al, Cancer Cell 2014,10;26(5):653-67). We are now generating data using range of advanced 'omics technologies to refine our understanding of how these processes are initiated; whether they operate non-randomly; and what role they play in other cancers.

Other opportunities exist to analyse data including sequencing and imaging from lagging replication, a putative chromothripsis trigger.

About our research group

The Papenfuss lab uses mathematics, statistics and computation to understand the evolution of cancer, as well as other diseases. This frequently entails the development of novel bioinformatics, computational and mathematical methods to make sense of complex biological data, for example tools for discovering genomic rearrangements. Lab members comprise mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists, physicists, as well as biologists. Our work is enabled by the Institutes new high-performance computing resources.

The lab is joint between the Institute and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. We collaborate widely, and this project is a collaboration with Professor David Thomas and Dr Alan Rubin at the Institute.



Professor Tony Papenfuss

Tony Papenfuss
Head, Computational Biology; Laboratory Head
Dr Alan Rubin
Bioinformatics division

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