Kelsey Gallant

MSTP in PhD Training

Program: Computational and Systems Biology

Current advisor: Rotating in the lab of Obi L. Griffith, PhD

Undergraduate university: Spelman College, 2018

Enrollment year: 2021

Research summary
Deciphering the Influence of Chemotherapy-Induced Senescence and Genetic Predispositions on the Breast Tumor Microenvironment

In our comprehensive study, we employ high-resolution cellular imaging and single-cell sequencing technologies to decode the intricate cellular interactions within the tumor microenvironment (TME) of breast cancer. Despite advances in cancer research, tumor heterogeneity presents a continued challenge. We address this through single cell sequencing techniques and high-resolution cellular imaging, examining germline variants on cellular characteristics in a cohort of 85 individuals with breast cancer. Leveraging multi-omic profiling and bulk Whole Exome Sequencing/RNA-seq data, we’ve identified key genetic variants influencing tumor dynamics.

We also explored the role of cellular senescence, a cell cycle arrest process, in breast cancer outcomes through chemotherapy-treated patients compared to treatment naive individuals. Our results suggest chemotherapy-induced cellular senescence mediates the tumor microenvironment, hinting at the potential of senescence-associated changes as novel prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

Additionally, we developed a cancer cellular genomic map (CCGM) using single-cell sequencing data from over 800 patients. The CCGM provides unprecedented insight into patients’ genetic origins, cellular traits, and genetic ancestry. It highlights the importance of genetics in driving cancer heterogeneity, uncovering novel associations missed in previous studies. Collectively, our work offers novel insights into the genomic underpinnings of cancer and the potential avenues for tailored treatment strategies

Graduate publications