Center for Computational Biology Seminar: Dr. Quaid Morris, Professor, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto

Seminar | October 3 | 4:30-5:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 Center for Computational Biology

Title: Making sense of the “noise” in cancer data

During carcinogenesis, cells accumulate 1000s of somatic DNA mutations. “Driver” mutations bestow fitness advantages that lead to selective sweeps that increase that frequency of mutated cells compared to those lacking the driver. These sweeps also increase the frequency of “passenger” mutations accumulated since the last such sweep. These mutations have little impact on cell function but provide information about the mutational processes that generated them. Both their type (i.e., A to C) and genomic locations depend not only what caused the mutation -- e.g., UV light – but also the chromatin state of the cell that acquired it. My lab developed Bayesian inference methods to classify somatic mutations into different ‘subclones’ that correspond to different sweeps. Our methods also use phylogenetic approaches to determine the relative order in which the sweeps occurred. We are now developing supervised and unsupervised learning methods to interpret this historical record of the cancer, in order to use the timing and patterns of somatic mutations to reconstruct the changes that a normal cell underwent during its transformation into a cancerous cell.

 Light refreshments will be provided at reception from 4:00pm - 4:30pm, 177 Life Sciences Addition building.