Carnegie Mellon University
February 23, 2021

Samantha Furman awarded NIH NCI fellowship

Samantha Furman awarded NIH NCI F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral National Research Service Award to support her PhD work titled “Quantifying heterocellular communication and spatial intratumoral heterogeneity from high dimensional spatial proteomics data”

Tumors are dynamic ecosystems comprising spatially heterogeneous microdomains. Microdomain-specific signaling networks reciprocally support a phenotypic continuum with complex intermediary cell types and cell states shaping the tumor microenvironment. The recent explosion of next-generation, high-content, high-throughput spatial imaging technologies for intact tissues measuring protein expressions, DNA and RNA probes has provided an opportunity to harness spatial data for inferring tumor biology. The overarching goal of this proposed computational and systems pathology project is to identify the emergent pathogenic cellular and molecular network transitions within an evolving tumor microenvironment from hyperplexed spatial image datasets associated with disease progression through cellular phenotyping, microdomain extraction, and spatial network biology inference algorithms. In combination, these methods have the potential to provide insights into pathophysiological mechanisms, identify novel drug targets and inform therapeutic strategies for individual patients.

Samantha Furman is a 4th year PhD student in Dr. S. Chakra Chennubhotla’s lab in the Computational and Systems Biology Department. With this fellowship support, Samantha will continue her training towards a PhD in Computational Biology from the University of Pittsburgh.