The Best of the AACR Journals Collection: Author Profiles
Obi L. Griffith
Title & Affiliation:
Associate Professors of Medicine.
Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.
pVACtools: A Computational Toolkit to Identify and Visualize Cancer Neoantigens
Q: What is your primary area of study/research?
A: Bioinformatics, cancer genomics, and precision oncology.
Q: What influenced your decision to embark on a research career?
A: Shortly before we graduated from high school, our mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and died not long after. Within a few years, additional members of our family were diagnosed with cancer. We saw firsthand examples where the disease was almost completely nonresponsive to existing treatments and others where it worked remarkably well, leading to complete remission. During college we became interested in genetics and genomics. At that time, large data sets from massively parallel assays (e.g. spotted microarrays, large-scale Sanger sequencing) were just starting to emerge in biology. We also had a strong interest in computers and computational approaches to data analysis. It became increasingly clear that these approaches would be needed to leverage the large data sets emerging and that in cancer genomics in particular there was an opportunity to make a difference to patients.
Q; What excites you most about your research area?
A: The potential to leverage genomic information to individualize and optimize treatment of cancer to the unique molecular features of each patient’s tumor.
Q: What do you do for fun outside of work? What are your passions and hobbies?
A: Photography, motorcycles, and golf.