Sam Wolff, PhD (Assistant Professor, Genetics) received a pilot award from the UNC Computational Medicine Program, together with Dr. Phil Spanheimer (Assistant Professor, Surgery).
The project is titled “A novel experimental/computational strategy to identify and characterize drug-resistant subpopulations in primary human tumors”. Utilizing the proteomic imaging platform (4i) for quantifying single-cell differences in signaling and cell cycle regulators, the project will focus on breast tumors. Aim 1 will apply 4i to a primary human ER+/HER2 breast tumor using novel procurement, culture, staining, and image processing protocols to demonstrate recapitulation of tumor subpopulations and proliferative markers. Aim 2 will use the experimental model to challenge explanted ER+/HER2- breast tumors with tamoxifen and develop a novel computational strategy to assess responsive and resistant subpopulations. This pilot project will generate both new single-cell proteomic data of primary human tumors as well as innovative computational methods for identifying resistant subpopulations of tumor cells.