Clara Liu

MSTP in PhD Training

Program: Computational and Systems Biology

Current advisor: Li Ding, PhD

Undergraduate university: Cornell University, 2019

Enrollment year: 2019

Research summary
Understand the metastatic niche of colorectal cancer at single cell resolution

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most common gastrointestinal malignancy in the US. Roughly 50% of CRC patients develop metastasis, with liver and lung being the most common sites. Despite advances in our understanding of primary CRC, the mechanism and treatment response for metastatic CRC (mCRC) remain inconclusive. In this project, we are interested in characterizing mCRC dissemination and seeding with genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic data at single-cell level. The dataset also allows us to study the immune and stroma component in each tumor microenvironment. We hypothesize that there exists a pre-metastatic niche, especially in the liver for CRC, that influences the organ tropism of CRC metastasis.

Graduate publications
Cui Zhou D, Jayasinghe RG, Chen S, Herndon JM, Iglesia MD, Navale P, Wendl MC, Caravan W, Sato K, Storrs E, Mo CK, Liu J, Southard-Smith AN, Wu Y, Naser Al Deen N, Baer JM, Fulton RS, Wyczalkowski MA, Liu R, Fronick CC, Fulton LA, Shinkle A, Thammavong L, Zhu H, Sun H, Wang LB, Li Y, Zuo C, McMichael JF, Davies SR, Appelbaum EL, Robbins KJ, Chasnoff SE, Yang X, Reeb AN, Oh C, Serasanambati M, Lal P, Varghese R, Mashl JR, Ponce J, Terekhanova NV, Yao L, Wang F, Chen L, Schnaubelt M, Lu RJ, Schwarz JK, Puram SV, Kim AH, Song SK, Shoghi KI, Lau KS, Ju T, Chen K, Chatterjee D, Hawkins WG, Zhang H, Achilefu S, Chheda MG, Oh ST, Gillanders WE, Chen F, DeNardo DG, Fields RC, Ding L. 2022 Spatially restricted drivers and transitional cell populations cooperate with the microenvironment in untreated and chemo-resistant pancreatic cancer. Nat Genet, 54(9):1390-1405. PMCID: PMC9470535