Dynamical modelling of somatic genomes

Year of award: 2017


  • Dr Chris Barnes

    University College London

Project summary

Our cellular DNA is constantly damaged and repaired many thousands of times per day. Sometimes permanent changes occur, known as mutations. Mutation rates can become very high in some cells, an effect known as genetic instability. This occurs naturally as we age, but increases rapidly when cells become cancerous. One particular process – chromosomal instability (CIN), where chromosomes are broken, gained, lost, and rearranged over time – causes genes to be duplicated and deleted. This is important in cancer because versions of cells arise that can be resistant to cancer drugs and are therefore more aggressive. CIN occurs in a large number of cancers and understanding it is key to better diagnosis and treatment. CIN is also important for healthy ageing and evolution.

We will use mathematical models and large amounts of data to try to understand the processes underlying CIN.

Our findings could lead to better diagnosis and treatment of some cancers.