MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
Dissecting and Targeting Cellular States Driving Human Gliomas
Gliomas are the most common brain tumors and are incurable. A key problem lies in the diverse nature of tumor cells within of gliomas. Most existing genomic approaches have masked the extent and pattern of this diversity because tumors are profiled as “bulk” pieces of tissue.
My laboratory has played a leading role in developing and deploying single-cell genomic technologies to clinical samples in the field of brain cancer. This allowed us to understand these tumors with much higher granularity, as cells are now sequenced individually.
This provided novel insights into the cells driving each glioma type, clarified the relationship between cell types and the genetic alterations of gliomas and shed new light on glioma classification.
With this award we will expand our work into three specific and complimentary directions: (1) use our single-cell knowledge of glioma biology to test new therapeutic approaches; (2) leverage our single-cell techniques to provide deeper understanding of the immune cells in gliomas; (3) expand our single-cell toolkits to be able to interrogate frozen clinical specimens (enabling the profiling of primary and recurrent cases), as well as develop “multi-omics” modalities in single-cells. These new directions will deepen our understanding of gliomas and offer new therapeutics.