Dr. Thomas' research lab focuses on melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Studies described are carried out in the laboratories of Dr. Nancy Thomas and her collaborators in the Melanoma Multidisciplinary Group at UNC and the Genes, Environment, and Melanoma Group GEM). The UNC Melanoma Group includes clinicians and basic scientists who are working on melanoma. The science is crosscutting and highly collaborative. The research studies are supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and a program project grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Thomas works closely with the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center as well.
• These researchers are interested in elucidating melanoma heterogeneity and its relationship to risk, diagnosis, and survival. In the population-based Genes, Environment, and Melanoma Study, they are determining somatic BRAF and NRAS mutations in melanomas from several international sites and their associations with histopathologic features, environmental and genetic risk factors, and survival.
• They are also investigating the interfaces between host characteristics, immunity, the environment, and tumor heterogeneity with the ultimate goal of applying this information towards improving prevention, prognostic models, and treatments for melanoma.
• Furthermore, they are approaching melanoma diagnosis and heterogeneity through investigation of differential DNA methylation profiles between melanoma subtypes and benign nevi.
• They are also collaborating with statisticians and computer scientists to develop novel image analysis methodology for melanoma classification and diagnosis.