Sean is a PhD student in the Campbell group where he is studying clonal evolution through somatic mutations and DNA methylation changes.

Cancer cells exhibit distinct behaviors compared to their normal counterparts. They proliferate uncontrollably, co-opt the immune system, gain mobility, and possess the ability to colonize other regions of the body. Yet, the mechanisms through which these abilities are acquired are not fully understood. This is where the study of cancer genetics and epigenetics becomes crucial.

In my research, I have used single-cell RNA sequencing to explore how CD4 immune cells transform in breast cancer patients, used spatial transcriptomics to show how in kidney cancer, it’s the cells at the edge of the tumour that express genes associated with their ability to become mobile (EMT), and studied the role of small RNAs in repressing transposable elements in different types of testicular germ cell tumours.

Since joining the Campbell group, I have been exploring cancer evolution in breast and lung tissues, looking at what epigenetics (DNA methylation) can tell us about the evolution of specific types of cells, and why some obtain cancerous mutations while others don’t.

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