DNA Methylation Biomarkers Group
Our research is focused on identifying DNA methylation changes associated with disease, in order to improve the interpretation of diagnostic samples and guide treatment decisions.
Our current focus is on prostate cancer. We have used whole-genome sequencing technologies to characterise the distinct methylome of cells surrounding the prostate tumour. Excitingly, we have identified a set of methylation changes shared by both tumour cells and surrounding cells in the tumour microenvironment. These shared changes hold promise to improve the diagnostic and prognostic sensitivity of biopsies.
We are now working with clinicians to explore the utility of our prostate microenvironment methylation biomarkers, to determine the presence of multifocal tumours. The aim is to establish a test of patient suitability for focal therapy – a promising new form of treatment that is less aggressive than current surgical approaches, in which the whole prostate is removed.
Our group also works to develop methods to measure DNA methylation. In particular, we are devising analytical methods and workflows for the analysis of DNA methylation microarray data, and its integration with sample-matched data from other next-generation sequencing technologies including single-cell sequencing data. We are also optimising the laboratory work and bioinformatic analysis of targeted bisuflite sequencing in formalin-fixed biopsy samples.