The Cancer Genetics Program is focused on revealing the structure and landscape of cancer genomes. Such information provides insight into how cancer develops, progresses, and responds to therapy. The Program includes a diverse collection of faculty who are developing new technology that is changing how researchers across the globe study cancer. The Program currently has three main focus areas: experimental technology, bioinformatics, and cancer progression.
In the Cancer Genetics Program, research is driven by the desire to innovate, developing new strategies that will allow researchers to rapidly interrogate, analyze, or model cancer risk, tumor development and progression, or cancer therapies. This innovative spirit is bolstered by an interactive environment, with numerous partnerships both within the CSHL Cancer Center and with other collaborators around the world. Research in the Cancer Genetics Program has had a broad impact on the cancer community, providing tools and strategies that facilitate bench research while offering new technologies to better diagnose, monitor, and treat cancer in the clinic.
The Cancer Genetics Program continues to make discoveries that have an impact on our understanding of cancer and on the lives of patients. Members of this program are focused on both the genetics and epigenetics of cancer—studying changes in bulk tissue and, increasingly, in single cells. The Program is also expanding their preclinical and clinical research, taking advantage of the close partnership between CSHL and Northwell Health to explore the genomics of patient samples. In addition, this Program benefits from significant strengths in computational research that have a broad impact on research, from helping to identify driver mutations in cancer population to improving cancer diagnostics in the clinic.
New method to determine before surgery which prostate tumors pose a lethal threat
December 1, 2017
The news about prostate cancer can be confusing. It’s the third most common cancer type among Americans.
Next-gen cancer test
November 24, 2017
Knowing that cancers become lethal when they spread, investigators at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory seek a way of detecting tumors much earlier
What a real-life science test looks like
March 24, 2017
By revealing evidence that contradicts the rationale for a new cancer drug, a pair of student scientists learns firsthand that when you do science.
Relationship between incorrect chromosome number and cancer is reassessed after surprising experiments
January 12, 2017
Pre-malignant aneuploid cells grew more slowly and formed smaller tumors than comparable cells with normal chromosome number, CSHL researchers found.
A theoretical physicist’s approach to breast cancer
October 21, 2016
Associate Professor Mickey Atwal explains how exploring numbers and patterns could lead to a new cancer treatment strategy.
CSHL scientists Bo Li and Je Lee win HFSP Research Grant awards
April 12, 2016
Associate Professor Bo Li and Assistant Professor Je Lee, are among 25 teams that have won Human Frontier Science Program Research Program Grants
Introducing the mighty Panoramix–defender of genomes!
October 15, 2015
Scientists have identified a protein the Piwi system uses to guide a cell's gene-silencing machinery to the right spots in the genome.
CSHL Fellow wins 2015 NIH Early Independence Award for cancer research
October 6, 2015
CSHL Lab Fellow Jason Sheltzer won the 2015 Early Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health High Risk, High Reward Research Program
Scientists sequence genome of worm that can regrow body parts, seek stem cell insights
September 21, 2015
Worm’s genome could lead to better understanding of its regenerative prowess and advance stem cell biology.
Mathematical ‘Gingko trees’ reveal mutations in single cells that characterize diseases
September 4, 2015
Online app could help clinicians choose the best treatments by comparing genetic fingerprints of individual cells.
12th annual LI2DAY Walk raises over $400,000
September 1, 2015
The $19,000 donation received by CSHL will support breast cancer research in the laboratory of Professor Alea Mills.
The biggest beast in the Big Data forest? One field’s astonishing growth is, well, ‘genomical’!
July 6, 2015
Scientists work to figure out how to capture, store, process and interpret all that genome-encoded biological information.
Scientists show the mammary gland ‘remembers’ prior pregnancy, spurring milk production
May 7, 2015
Anecdotal reports of nursing mothers have long suggested that giving milk is a lot easier in second and subsequent pregnancies.
Tumor cells that mimic blood vessels could help breast cancer spread to other sites
April 8, 2015
“Vascular mimicry” observed in mice could be helping tumors evade anti-angiogenesis drugs
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory engages Hairpin Technologies Inc. to license its short hairpin RNA (shRNA) technology
March 31, 2015
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory engaged Hairpin Technologies Inc. to expand the commercial distribution and research use of short hairpin RNA.
CSHL quantitative biologist Michael Schatz awarded 2015 Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship
February 20, 2015
Associate Professor Michael Schatz receives a 2015 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship
Harnessing data from nature’s great evolutionary experiment
January 21, 2015
Scientists develop a computational method to estimate the importance of each letter in the human genome
CSHL thanks the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation for $500,000 contribution in support of leading-edge cancer research
May 5, 2009
Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation has donated $500,000 to CSHL’s cancer genetics research program
RNA interference (RNAi) and CRISPR are widely used to functionally investigate mammalian genomes. It is our goal to develop and optimize these gene perturbation platforms to improve their effectiveness in understanding the biology of diseases.
Next generation sequencing technologies revolutionized many areas of genetics and molecular biology, enabling quantitative analyses of the entire genomes and paving the way for Personalized Medicine. We develop novel statistical methods and computational algorithms for multi-omics processing and integration, and leverage Big Genomic Data to elucidate various problems in precision health, such as genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of cancer development and progression, and clinical impact of functional variants.
Of the tens of thousands of protein-coding genes in the human genome, only a small portion have an experimentally defined function. For the rest, how can we determine what they do? My lab develops computational predictions based on co-expression networks. We are applying our predictions to understand neuropsychiatric disorders.
As organisms develop, genes turn on and off with a precise order and timing, much like the order and duration of notes in a song. My group uses model organisms to understand the molecules that control the tempo of development. We also study how changes in the timing of gene expression contribute to diseases like cancer.
Many types of cancer display bewildering intra-tumor heterogeneity on a cellular and molecular level, with aggressive malignant cell populations found alongside normal tissue and infiltrating immune cells. I am developing mathematical and statistical tools to disentangle tumor cell population structure, enabling an earlier and more accurate diagnosis of the disease and better-informed clinical decisions.
Cells are amazingly complex, with the ability to sense, and remember timing, location and history. I am exploring how cells store this information, and how their surroundings influence their communication with other cells. I am also developing various imaging and molecular sequencing methods for tracking genes, molecules, and cells to understand how cancer cells arise and evolve.
We have recently come to appreciate that many unrelated diseases, such as autism, congenital heart disease and cancer, are derived from rare and unique mutations, many of which are not inherited but instead occur spontaneously. I am generating algorithms to analyze massive datasets comprising thousands of affected families to identify disease-causing mutations.
I provide collaborative research support to CSHL researchers in the area of preclinical in vivo imaging. This includes access to a comprehensive range of imaging modalities, as well as provision of experimental guidance, training and imaging reagents. In addition, my lab develops new and impactful ways to image aspects of in vivo tumor biology that are broadly relevant to the development of new therapeutics and the research interests of the CSHL Cancer Center.
Over the last two decades, revolutionary improvements in DNA sequencing technology have made it faster, more accurate, and much cheaper. We are now able to sequence up to 10 trillion DNA letters in just one month. I harness these technological advancements to assemble genomes for a variety of organisms and probe the genetic basis of neurological disorders, including autism and schizophrenia, better understand cancer progression and understand the complex structures of the genomes of higher plants.
Cells employ stringent controls to ensure that genes are turned on and off at the correct time and place. Accurate gene expression relies on several levels of regulation, including how DNA and its associated molecules are packed together. I study the diseases arising from defects in these control systems, such as aging and cancer.
Developing single-cell genomics technologies for applications related to cancer progression, immune surveillance, and discovery of rare novel cell types and transcriptional programs.
Nearly all tumors exhibit a condition known as aneuploidy—their cells contain the wrong number of chromosomes. We’re working to understand how aneuploidy impacts cancer progression, in hopes of developing therapies that can specifically eliminate aneuploid cancers while leaving normal cells unharmed.
I am a computer scientist who is fascinated by the challenge of making sense of vast quantities of genetic data. My research group focuses in particular on questions involving human evolution and transcriptional regulation.
Devastating diseases like cancer and autism can be caused by spontaneous changes to our DNA—mutations first appearing in the child, or in our tissues as we age. We are developing methods to discover these changes in individuals, tumors, and even single cells, to promote early detection and treatments