Research should be impactful, novel and exciting. What will you discover?
Project 1: Identification of new immunotherapy targets
(mostly wet lab)
A set of new cancer therapies rely on the targeting of markers present at the surface of cancer cells via the genetic engineering of cytotoxic T cells (CAR-T) or antibody-drug conjugates (ADC). While these treatments work well for many patients with certain types of blood cancers, their application in other cancer types is limited in part by the lack of cancer-specific markers to target.
We and others observed a wide range of splicing variations occuring across a wide array of tumor types (e.g. Jha, Quesnel-Vallières et al., 2022). Building from the hypothesis that this transcriptomics diversity would make it possible to find cancer-specific splicing variations in surface receptors, we developped a computational pipeline that surveys a large array of normal tissues to identify candidate immunotherapy targets.
We currently focus our efforts on the experimental validation of candidates that appear to be prime therapeutic targets in acute myeloid leukemia.
Project 2: Blood-specific RNA splicing regulation
(mostly wet lab)
Sets of alternative RNA splicing events are co-regulated to shape the development and function of the nervous system. Several such programs and their regulators have been extensively studied (e.g. Quesnel-Vallières et al., 2015). In addition to explaining important molecular mechanisms underlying the complexity of the brain, these alternative splicing programs can be involved in neuronal disorders and diseases (e.g. Quesnel-Vallières et al., 2016).
Similar to components of the nervous system, immune cells display remarkable cellular, molecular and environmental diversity. We believe that a part of this complexity is enabled by hematopoietic-specific alternative splicing events. Our computational analyses have highlighted a number of putative splicing regulators that are specifically expressed in subsets of immune cell types.
We now aim to confirm the role of top candidates in the regulation of splicing in immune cells and characterize the function of dedicated hematopoietic splicing programs.
Project 3: What is a gene?
Here there is no supporting data, no rationale, just a question. What is a gene?
This project is 100% computational. Details will be provided upon request.