Thomas K. Ni, PhD
American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow
B.S. Biology, Yale University
Ph.D. Genetics, Yale University
Project Title: “Functional Investigation of the Long Tail Drivers of Human Breast Cancer”
Cancer exome sequencing has revealed that 20% of cancers lack mutations in even a single known or putative driver gene, indicating that we must look to the “long tail” distribution of mutated genes in order to complete our knowledge of cancer genetics. Since it is currently unknown how long tail drivers impact the proliferative pathways commonly deregulated in cancer, the investigation of these drivers is of central importance for basic and translational cancer research. Throughout my doctoral and postdoctoral work, I have pioneered genetic technologies to identify long tail drivers. These early works have served as the foundation for my current focus, which is to ask how such drivers mechanistically cause the dysfunction of major proliferative signaling pathways in order to promote transformation and tumorigenesis.