My H. Pham is a PhD student supervised by Raheleh Rahbari and Mike Stratton. Her research focuses on investigating the true mechanism underlying the variation in mutation rates, mutation burdens and mutational signatures across different human tissue types during ageing, using multi-omics data. 

Mutations can accumulate during an individual’s lifetime, contributing to ageing and elevating risk of cancer development. Recent studies have shown that the somatic mutation burden varies between tissue types. However, the main challenge when investigating the somatic evolution in those studies is the highly polyclonal structures of the tissues. Therefore, the numbers of cell types/tissues types studied has previously been limited. During my PhD, I use NanoSeq, a sequencing platform known for its exceptional accuracy ,with the error rates of less than five errors per billion base pairs to detect the somatic mutations across the panbody.

On the other hand, genetic errors in germline cells are the source of inherited diseases and evolutionary adaptions. Germline cells are reported having a considerably lower mutation rate compared to their somatic counterparts. Nevertheless, how this low mutation burden is achieved by germline cells remain elusive. I am applying single cell RNA and DNA methylation sequencing data to investigate how factors such as gene expression and methylation may protect the germline cells from accruing mutations during the natural process of ageing.

Prior to my PhD, I completed her MPhil under the supervisor of Professor Nick Thomson, where she studied the evidence of widespread endemic populations of highly multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae in Vietnamese Intensive Care Units.

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