Camila Lopes-Ramos, PhD

Institution: Harvard University

Project: Sex and Gender Differences in Lung Adenocarcinoma

Grant(s): Lung Cancer Discovery Award

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted my work by slowing down collaborations, hiring and training of new researchers, and by imposing a new work balance that includes working from home and coping with frequent child care interruptions. After adjusting to this new standard, I have been able to work in computational analysis with full access to data, write, publish, and give virtual presentations. Due to a hiring freeze and changes in immigration laws, finding and hiring new postdoctoral fellows has been particularly difficult. Furthermore, remote meetings can be inefficient, and training new researchers in home office takes longer. The first year of this award was critical in identifying and training a postdoc who is well-suited to conduct the project. The postdoc effectively started working on this project six-months after the project start date. Fortunately, the postdoc is actively involved, has already produced significant results, and will be able to accomplish the project's goals with the proposed renewal/extension.

Update: We used innovative network medicine approaches to study sex differences in lung cancer gene regulation. By modeling sex-specific gene regulatory networks, we identified regulatory processes that differentiate male and female lung adenocarcinoma, and provided insights into the molecular mechanisms that explain clinically observed sex differences in lung cancer incidence and prognosis. Our findings underscore the importance of considering sex as a factor influencing lung cancer and laying the groundwork for sex-aware precision medicine to improve survival for all patients with lung cancer.

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