Assistant Professor Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
University of Calgary
Dr. Sorana Morrissy completed her PhD in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, under the supervision of Dr. Marco Marra. She pursued post-doctoral research in translational genomics in Dr. Michael Taylor’s lab at the Hospital of Sick Children in Toronto, ON. Throughout her training she gained extensive experience with cutting-edge high-throughput sequencing technologies and computational analyses in the field of cancer research, with a particular focus on understanding tumor heterogeneity and recurrent disease.
Tumor evolution is a continuing process of re-iterating genetic and epigenetic diversification followed by clonal expansion and selection, occurring in the adaptive landscape of tumor microenvironments. These dynamics yield heterogeneous clonal lineages that underpin cancer’s ability to progress, metastasize, and ultimately become resistant to treatment. Intratumoral heterogeneity (ITH) is thus a formidable barrier to therapeutic success, and significant efforts are ongoing to understand the dynamics, constraints, and contingencies of this ongoing evolutionary process. In my lab, we focus on the extent and clinical implications of ITH, measuring and modelling tumor evolution, and approaches for therapeutic strategies that consider and incorporate this key aspect of tumor biology.
Germline and Somatic Determinants of Paediatric Brain Tumor Evolution
We are investigating whether pediatric brain tumors (pHGGs, DIPGs) display intratumoral genetic heterogeneity, and the relationship between germline and somatic events as they relate to the clonal evolution of the disease.
High-grade glioma/astrocytoma (WHO grade III/IV)
High-grade Gliomas (HGG) in children nearly always result in a dismal prognosis. Although novel therapeutic approaches are currently in development, preclinical testing has been limited, due to a lack of pediatric specific HGG preclinical models. These models are needed to help test the effective