Cell Line Models of Cytotoxic Response

Dr. Alison Motsinger-Reif, Associate Professor, and Assistant Department Head of the Department of Statistics at NC State University will be giving a talk to the Genetics Program on Monday, February 5, at 1:30 pm in 3503 Thomas Hall, Stanley G. Stephens Room. This seminar will be hosted by Dr. Robert Anholt.

Seminar Title:
“Cell Line Models of Cytotoxic Response – Integration of Statistical Methods Development and Genetic Association Mapping”

The investigation and discovery of genetic factors that determine differential drug response is the fundamental goals of pharmacogenomics. Practical and ethical limitations studying cytotoxics in either application have motivated the use of lymphoblastoid cell line model(s) for high throughput genetic association studies. We present the results of genome-wide association mapping studies for a large number of commonly used chemotherapy agents, along with the methods development studies behind the high throughput mapping. This GWAS screen produced interesting potential candidate genes, and we present initial results of functional/clinical follow-up of these candidates. We will also present the initial results of clinical validation results from top candidates. These results demonstrate an integrated approach to bioinformatics methods development and application.

The primary goal of Dr. Motsinger-Reif’s research is the development of computational methods to detect genetic risk factors of common, complex traits in human populations. As the field of human genetics increasingly accepts a complex model of phenotypic development that involving many genetic and environmental factors, it is increasingly important to develop analytical strategies that incorporate this complexity. Data collected from different physiological compartments that represent biological flux across time and space (such as genetic, proteomic, and environmental data) will need to be incorporated to gain a fuller understanding of the biological mechanism underlying complex phenotypes. Dr. Motsinger-Reif’s research is focused on the development of methods to detect such complex predictive models in high-throughput genomic data.

While methods development is a key component of her research, real data applications are the driving factor. In particular, she works on performing association mapping to detect genes that are associated with differential response to pharmaceutical agent exposure. She also collaborates with a number of investigators trying to understand complex human diseases, to compare disease etiology across species, to perform gene mapping in fruit flies, and many more!

Dr. Alison Motsinger-Reif received her Ph.D. degree in Human Genetics from Vanderbilt University in 2007.