CRI Funded Scientists

Chi-Yun Wu, PhD, CRI Immuno-Informatics Fellow

The J. David Gladstone Institutes

Area of Research: Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Lung Cancer, Melanoma

Dr. Chi-Yun Wu is developing computational methods to characterize the complexity of the tumor-immune environment and how different cancer cell variants affect disease progression and treatment response.

Tumor heterogeneity—meaning not all of the tumor cells have the same identity—can arise from genetic mutations among other causes and can promote resistance to therapy.

Consequently, characterizing that heterogeneity and its impact on individual patient outcomes may facilitate improved approaches as far as cancer prognosis and treatment. To that end, Dr. Wu is developing computational methods to characterize cell-cell signaling interactions patients with breast cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, and colorectal cancer, in order to assess how different cancer cell variants influence tumor behavior.

Recent advances in image-based technologies and computational methods now enable scientists to capture the location and gene expression activity of individual cell types. Most methods consider signals from different images separately, resulting in difficult cross-sample analysis, but Dr. Wu’s approach will model both shared and unique “hubs” across multiple images for better comparison. 

Overall, she hopes to identify genetically distinct subclones of that have a significant impact on patient outcomes and then dissect the roles of these subclones within the tumor environment. This study will facilitate a systematic understanding of TIMEs for better cancer prognosis and treatment.

Projects and Grants

Characterizing the role of tumor subclones in the tumor immune microenvironment

The J. David Gladstone Institutes | Lung, Breast, Melanoma, and Colorectal Cancer | 2023 | Barbara Engelhardt, PhD

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