About Christopher’s research on in vitro assessment of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA):
The onset of KRAS-related non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) can be attributed to any of several mutations with the KRAS gene in patient DNA. Treatments will differ depending on which mutation a patient suffers from; thus, there is great need for a means of ascertaining this information for the purposes of early diagnosis and therapy selection. DNA shed from tumors into the circulatory systems of cancer patients provides a reliable probe to detect the specific mutations that drive those conditions. This phenomenon – combined with pre-existing giant magnetoresistive (GMR) biosensing technology – allows for the creation of GMR-based assays that can reliably detect specific mutations in patient blood samples; the development of these assays is the focus of my research. The goal of this work is to produce a biological test by which researchers and clinicians can quickly and cheaply determine crucial patient health information.
My other research focuses on finding solutions to various immunologic questions. Most recently, this has included developing and testing a novel SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) neutralizing antibody assay for evaluating vaccine efficacy in serum and saliva.
Congratulations to Neeraja Ravi for successfully defending her dissertation on Developing a Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR)-based Assay for Quantification of the Human Immune Response to Influenza Infection and Vaccination. Her PhD degree is awarded in Bioengineering. Our best wishes to Neeraja in her new position as bioinformatics scientist at Personalis!