Thu 28th Apr, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
This session will explore how genomics techniques aid our understanding of how cancer mutations arise, how they affect a cancer’s development, and how they impact treatment options. The career journey of our guest speaker will also be highlighted.
Our guest speaker for Genomics Lite: Cancer Mutations in Focus is Dr Matt Coelho. Matt is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Garnet Lab at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, which researches the link between DNA mutations, cancer and treatments, through the use of CRISPR and organoid models.
Genomics Lite in Focus is a programme of live webinars to inspire and engage upper secondary school students, teachers and other educational groups. Each talk explores a different field in biology in focus, highlighting how genomics research contributes to understanding the topic.
Each 75 minute session includes a 30 minute talk on the topic, a 15 minute talk about the speakers career journey, and time for Q&A with the audience. Polls and audience questions are used throughout to encourage interaction between the audience and the speaker.
Learn more about cancer mutations
These resources are designed to support and further attendees’ understanding of the human microbiome, and are aimed at students in upper secondary years (e.g. year 10 and higher).
A downloadable learning resources PDF is available at the bottom of this page.
What are mutations and how do they affect cells?
- A mutation is a change that occurs in a DNA sequence. There are lots of different types of mutations, with some being associated with types of cancers.
- Some DNA mutations can alter the structure of the encoded protein, which might lead to the protein no longer being able to function correctly.
- Use this interactive to explore the effects of mutations on a cancer-associated protein BCR-ABL, how scientists have developed drugs targeting this protein, and how further mutations can lead to drug resistance.
How are cancer mutations researched?
- In a previous series of Genomics Lite, we explored different techniques that can be used to research cancer – from drug screenings to the use of AI in diagnostics.
- Genome editing using CRISPR can be used to introduce mutations to understand their effects on the cell. This can be used to test the link between mutations and cancer.
- A previous session of Genomics Lite highlighted how CRISPR allows researchers to specifically knock out any gene in a cell.
- Traditionally, working with cells in a lab involves growing cells in flat dishes, creating a two dimensional layer, which is quite different from how cancer tumours grow in the body. Utilising organoids – three dimensional cultures of cells – can provide more realistic models for understanding cancers. Watch this video to learn more about organoids and their use in cancer cell research: