Health

UC Santa Cruz Projects

Pediatric Cancer

Stem Cell Hub

Cancer Genomics

Breast & Ovarian Cancer

Xena Cancer Browser

Affiliated Projects

Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH)

Cancer Genome Atlas

Institute for the Biology of Stem Cells

Center For Molecular Biology of RNA

Data Sharing to Advance Medical Research

Leading the charge towards international data sharing, Haussler co-founded the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) in 2013. Since then, this nonprofit has worked to improve the potential of genomic medicine to advance human health. The Alliance brings together over 500 leading institutions working in healthcare, research, disease advocacy, life science, and information technology, collaborating to create a common framework of harmonized approaches designed to enable the responsible, voluntary, and secure sharing of genomic and clinical data. 

In research across all cancers, Josh Stuart’s lab is leading the Cancer Genome Atlas groundbreaking Pan-Cancer Initiative, analyzing digital data to reveal similarities between tumors in different parts of the body that were not previously apparent. This research is upending a world where tumors have been classified and treated based on where in the body they originated, rather than by considering their molecular origins.

Angela Brooks cancer research has focused on alternative splicing and the identification of mutations that lead to meaningful changes in gene expression. Using powerful new methods for identifying mutations, Brooks has investigated proteins involved in splicing and human cancers and successfully identified the cancerous effects of mutations in two genes: U2AF1 in lung adenocarcinoma and acute myeloid leukemia2 and SF3B1 in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The Genomics Institute co-founded the BRCA Exchange, a global open source resource governed by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). This network hosts clinical breast-cancer data contributed by geneticists from several countries, and has become the world’s largest public, open repository of information on BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic variations and their implications for cancer risk.

In pediatric cancer, The Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative is changing the story for childhood cancer patients by leveraging genomic data and computational approaches to identify less toxic or more effective treatments. Treehouse analyzes a child’s cancer data against both childhood and adult patient cohorts across all types of cancer. It can compare individual pediatric tumors against a vast database of 11,000+ tumors. This “pan-cancer” analysis of adult and pediatric tumors may predict situations in which an adult drug might work on a subset of pediatric patients. 

In cooperation with our sister organization the Institute for the Biology of Stem Cells, led by faculty members Camilla Forsberg and Lindsay Hinck, The Genomic Institute also coordinates and manages the Stem Cell Hub, a project of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). CIRM’s goal for the Stem Cell Hub is to apply genomics and bioinformatics approaches to stem cell research, providing an invaluable open resource to the biomedical research community and supporting clinical trials for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and cardiomyopathy. Among those contributing to this project are faculty members Daniel Kim, Nader Pourmand and Josh Stuart from UCSC’s Biomolecular Engineering department; and Jeremy Sanford from UCSC’s Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology department.