Dr. Morrissy took the bioinformatics skills she gained as a trainee at the GSC and now applies it to the study of cancer evolution. She is one of 16 speakers that will present at the GSC’s 20th Anniversary Symposium, November 21, 2019. 

Sorana MorrissyAs an undergraduate student at SFU, Dr. Sorana Morrissy took a genomics course from Dr. David Baillie and never looked back.

“I knew that Marco Marra and Steve Jones were at the forefront of the field,” says Dr. Morrissy, “So when they offered me a position at the GSC, I didn’t hesitate.”

Dr. Morrissy joined the bioinformatics team. Trained by Dr. Obi Griffith, she quickly became proficient at sequence analysis techniques while working on the Mammalian Gene Collection project.

“After learning all of the bioinformatics skills I could, I wanted a bigger challenge” says Dr. Morrissy, “So despite my previous decision to the contrary, I decided to go to grad school.”

Dr. Morrissy did her PhD at the GSC under the supervision of Dr. Marco Marra. Towards the end of her degree, she had the opportunity to apply her informatics skills to cancer biology, leading to a post-doctoral fellowship in translational genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Throughout her training, she acquired extensive expertise with cutting-edge high-throughput sequencing technologies and computational analyses, with a particular focus on tumour heterogeneity. 

“I gained a great appreciation for what sequencing can do, and how it can revolutionize our insights into cancer biology,” says Dr. Morrissy.

Dr. Morrissy is now an Assistant Professor at the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute at the University of Calgary. Her research is focused on tumour evolution, using bioinformatics to interrogate the iterative genomic diversification and clonal expansion that follows the challenge of cancer therapy. With a focus on brain tumours, her laboratory employs leading technologies in single cell DNA and RNA sequencing, and analyzes the data in novel and insightful ways. 

“Matching the right data, tools and algorithms to identify targetable cancer vulnerabilities will ultimately lead to improved patient care,” says Dr. Morrissy.

At the GSC’s upcoming 20th anniversary symposium, Dr. Morrissy will share her latest findings in tumour evolution and heterogeneity. She is looking forward to reuniting with everyone she knew as a trainee, coming together to share their research and to exchange ideas for how to better use genomics and bioinformatics to tackle the next big hurdles in cancer research.

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