The Columbia University Center for Topology of Cancer Evolution and Heterogeneity is an interdisciplinary center formed to develop an integrated experimental and computational approach for characterizing tumor evolution within solid tumors.
Clonal evolution and tumor heterogeneity are believed to play key roles in generating patient-specific variations in cancer phenotype and in the emergence of resistance to treatment during disease progression. Due to difficulties in performing longitudinal assessments and limitations in identifying the cell(s) of origin, the process of clonal evolution in solid tumors (such as prostate and brain cancers) is not well understood. The Center, as part of the National Cancer Institute’s Physical Sciences in Oncology Network, will employ novel experimental techniques such as multi-color organoid systems for tracing cellular lineages, as well as innovative single-cell sequencing technologies. We are combining these methods with emerging approaches from topological data analysis that are well suited to analyzing the high-dimensional data that single-cell approaches generate.
The Center has announced its opening call for proposals for pilot grants. These grants are intended to facilitate collaborations between mathematicians/physicists and cancer researchers that will lead to innovative new applications for the analysis of large biological data sets. This year’s round of funding will support five projects, including:
- one pilot grant of $40,000 to support technology development and/or research involving wet lab experimentation
- four collaborative grants of $10,000 each to support mathematical/computational research in collaboration with the Center. Collaborations are required to involve at least one researcher within the Center.
The goal of the program is to foster the development of new technologies and quantitative methods for the analysis of cancer genomic data. All applications must demonstrate close interdisciplinary collaboration between quantitative scientists and cancer biologists. Pilot projects and collaborative grants will enable the development and testing of new mathematical approaches within the context of cancer research, give mathematicians and physicists experience working in biological settings, and provide cancer biologists opportunities to explore how mathematical methods can be used to guide research agendas.
More information about the center and proposal requirements and deadlines can be found in the following link.