Noah Basri

MSTP in PhD Training

Program: Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Current advisor: Ting Wang, PhD

Undergraduate university: Columbia University, 2018

Enrollment year: 2018

Research summary
Transposable Elements Modify the Gene Expression Landscape of Cancer

Accounting for nearly 50% of human genome content, transposable elements (TEs) have long been dismissed as “junk DNA” and overlooked in genomic studies of pathology. However, these remnants of ancient viruses have been demonstrated to provide potent alternative transcription start sites, thereby contributing to abnormal oncogene expression through a process termed onco-exaptation. Analysis of this mechanism of oncogenesis has revealed a striking universality among cancer types, and the ubiquity of TEs throughout the genome suggests a novel lens through which cancer-specific gene expression programs might be interrogated to reveal precision therapeutic targets. Currently, I am studying the contribution of novel splice variants derived from TE derepression across all genes. This research will provide deeper insight into the gene regulatory aberrations that determine the cancer cell phenotype and may provide previously unknown molecular targets in precision cancer therapy.

Graduate publications
Shah NM, Jang HJ, Liang Y, Maeng JH, Tzeng SC, Wu A, Basri NL, Qu X, Fan C, Li A, Katz B, Li D, Xing X, Evans BS, Wang T. 2023 Pan-cancer analysis identifies tumor-specific antigens derived from transposable elements. Nat Genet, 55(4):631-39. PMCID: