Miss Anna Quaglieri - Bioinformatics division

Miss Anna Quaglieri - Bioinformatics division

Location: 
Davis Auditorium
Start Time: 
Mon, 19/08/2019 - 3:00pm
End Time: 
Mon, 19/08/2019 - 4:00pm

Using the transcriptome to study therapy response in leukaemia

PhD Completion seminar​

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a heterogeneous cancer of the blood affecting the normal development of white blood cells and with patients’ prognosis varying dramatically between different subtypes. AML patients harbour a low number of mutations compared to other cancers while the expression of thousands of genes is often dysregulated. This makes RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) an appealing instrument to track both genetic and transcriptional determinants of response in leukaemia.
 
During her PhD, Anna and her collaborators from the Blood Cells & Blood Cancer division tackled relapse in AML by studying two cohorts of bulk RNA-Seq samples, collected as part of two Australian clinical trials and with samples available over time. Anna developed a bioinformatic pipeline and applied statistical methods to extract and analyse both gene expression and somatic mutations from RNA-Seq, which required developing new analytical approaches. Anna applied her pipeline to a published AML dataset and this was then used to guide the experimental design and the analysis of both Australian cohorts. Her work also tackled confounding factors in the gene expression data due to the varying mixture of tumour and normal cells as well as strategies to efficiently visualise the results to gain insight into factors that impact on therapy response and patient outcomes.
 
Anna graduated in Statistics between the Universities of Bologna, Glasgow and Melbourne. Before starting her PhD in Cancer Genomics between Terry Speed and Ian Majewski’s labs, she collaborated on several projects at the Institute across the fields of Population Genetics and Epigenetics. She is also a strong advocate for women in statistics and programming which pushed her to become the co-organiser and also main organiser of the R-Ladies in Melbourne, now one of the largest R-Ladies groups worldwide.