Grigore-Aristide Gafencu is a Bioinformatician in the Department of Oncology. Here he discusses his experience and how it fits in with the Cartography programme.
What is your research background?
During my DPhil in Medical Sciences degree (2018-2022) at the University of Oxford, my research focused on describing the impact of ageing on the cellular composition of the haematopoietic stem cell and T cell compartments in healthy human subjects by using computational tools to analyse single cell RNA sequencing datasets. My undergraduate training was in clinical medicine, earning a MD (UK NARIC comparable UK qualification: BMBS) in 2018 from Iuliu Hațieganu Univerisity of Medicine and Pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. During my undergraduate degree, I trained with Assit. Prof. Ciprian Tomuleasa at the Department of Haematology of the Faculty of Medicine of my alma mater. During my stay in the Tomuleasa lab I had the opportunity to intern in the lab of Prof. Olivier Gires (LMU Klinikum) as an Amgen Scholar working on circulating tumour cells and in the lab of Assit. Prof. Gabriel Ghiaur (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) as a visiting student working on the influence of liposomal retinoids on AML differentiation patterns. While in the Tomuleasa lab, I helped develop tools to screen for antifibrotic compounds with potential use in myelofibrosis, perform in vitro testing of tyrosine kinase inhibitor(TKI)-loaded gold nanoparticles as alternative formulations for TKIs in AML treatment and work on a project investigating PARP inhibitors effects on AML blast differentiation and DNA damage response.
What are you researching now?
Currently at Oxford Molecular Diagnostics Centre, I am working under the supervision of Dr. Dimitris Vavoulis and Dr. Anna Schuh to identify novel prognostic markers for clinical progression in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and other lymphoproliferative disorders starting from NGS data, primarily single cell multi-omic data.
How does your work with Oxplored fit into Cartography
Understanding the interplay between the immune system and the malignant clones in the context of CLL and other lymphoproliferative disorders could result in discovering novel prognostic markers for these malignancies. OxPLoreD collaborates with Cartography in the data generation effort for understating this interplay and through a deep integration with the healthy control datasets available through the Cartography project tries to home in on clinical progression specific prognostic markers particularly for CLL that are not ageing-dependent.