The Brooks Lab mines cancer DNA and RNA sequencing data to understand the genetic basis of cancer. We particularly study how mutations in cancer cells affect gene regulation through alternative splicing.
The lab is also committed to an inclusive environment to train individuals from diverse backgrounds in the field of genomics.
Your donation will directly support a few of our current research areas:
Full-length sequencing of mRNAs in cancer:
- Current methods to sequence RNA limit our ability to detect mRNAs expressed in cancer. These methods sequence short fragments; however, the longer lengths and complexity of mRNA makes it difficult to assemble the short fragments into the accurate representation of the full-length mRNAs.
- We are developing computational methods using newer technologies that can sequence full-length mRNAs from cancer samples.
- Full-length sequencing will allow us to have a complete picture of how cancer cells produce aberrant mRNA. This will lead to a better understanding of cancer biology and open doors to novel therapeutic strategies.
Functional characterization of transcript isoforms:
- Over 95% of human genes express multiple variants, known as transcript isoforms. These are produced through the process of alternative splicing. There are several hundred candidate variants driving the development of cancer, yet how these variants affect gene function is largely unknown.
- We need to characterize these isoforms at scale, in order to understand how these candidates affect the development of cancer. We are developing high-throughput methods that will allow us to identify these cancer-driver isoforms.
- Conducting these experiments at scale will allow us to interpret genetic variation and expression between individuals. This will also allow us to isolate targets for potentially developing new treatment options.