Outreach Core


The goals of the U54 San Antonio-Duke Outreach Core are to enhance the awareness and knowledge of cancer systems biology, recruit next-generation trainees interested in epigenomics, and expand the scope of early-stage and established investigators to engage in omics analysis as part of their research portfolio. Two experienced Core leaders, Dr. Nameer Kirma (UT Health San Antonio) and Dr. Jason Somerlli (Duke University), will coordinate outreach/training activities within the two center sites.

To achieve these goals three aims are implemented:

  • Aim 1: Knowledge of advances in cancer systems biology will be disseminated through seminar series and annual symposium. Workshops will provide practical training of novel omics technologies. To maximize exposure and capitalize on our existing expertise, these symposia and workshops will be held every year alternating between the two center sites.
  • Aim 2: We plan to train new scientists and retool established investigators in systems epigenomics. Postdoctoral fellows and early-stage investigators will have the opportunity to participate in cross-pollination training beyond their current expertise, facilitating a more rounded understanding of systems biology. Early-stage and established investigators will have the opportunity to re-sharpen their research skills in omics analyses through the three proposed projects in our center and the release of annual RFA for supporting two Intra-center Pilot Projects (IPPs). In addition, the Core will organize summer programs for at least six undergraduate students and visiting scientists who will have the opportunity to engage in short-term research projects using omics approaches. Given that both sites have access to a great pool of minority and underserved students in South Texas and Appalachia, we will encourage them to apply for these programs.
  • Aim 3: We plan to interact with investigators in the RCCSB Consortium and other genomics communities. Working with the leaders of our Administrative Core, we will send a delegation consisting of 10 senior and early-stage investigators and IPP awardees to participate in the annual RCCSB Consortium Steering Committee meeting. Through platform and poster presentations and face-to-face meetings, our investigators will find opportunities and niches for collaboration and data sharing with scientists in the Consortium.

UT Health U54 Summer Outreach Program Students

The U54 Outreach Core summer student research program targets undergraduate students for an 8-week hands-on research experience in our faculty mentors laboratories at both the San Antonio and Duke University sites, starting early June of each year. An application process is required with an April deadline. For more information, contact Dr. Nameer Kirma for the San Antonio site and Dr. Jason Somerelli for the Duke site.

U54 Education and Outreach Student Workshops and Symposia

The U54 Outreach Core holds workshops and symposia to enhance awareness and knowledge of Cancer Systems Biology. In July 2017, the Outreach Core hosted a U54 Education and Outreach Student Workshop for our Cancer Systems Biology Program. The workshop was open to students and anyone interested in Cancer Systems Biology across campus. Cancer systems biology focuses on using systems biology approaches to understand cancer genomics, the 4D nucleome, and multiscale cellular profiling, including computational and mathematical modeling, to study cancer as a complex multidimensional biological system.

In March 2018, the Outreach Core held a workshop on functional profiling highlighting the applications for the newly acquired Helios mass cytometer (Fluidigm) for single-cell proteomics.

In May 2019, as part of the outreach efforts our U54 center organized a major symposium at the American Association for Cancer Research titled: ‘Systems Epigenetics in Hormone-Driven Cancer’ Speakers were Drs. Qianben Wang, Myles Brown, and Tim Huang.

Trainees and Students Presentations and Publications

The U54 summer students participate in a joint poster session with other students involved in various summer programs. This gave them an opportunity to present their research they’ve done while being here.

Our trainees and students have the opportunity to present their work at different conferences:

  • Justin Guerra is the recipient of the NCI CSBC/PS-ON Summer Undergraduate Research Program Internship, and presented at the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Sciences Conference presentations on 10/5/18. He also received the ‘Best Undergraduate Poster at the presentation.
  • Kyle Caution, Alexander Pan, Kathrin Krause, Asmaa Badr, Kaitlin Hamilton, Anup Vaidya, Hawin Gosu, Kylene Daily, Shady Estfanous, Mikhail A. Gavrilin, Mark E. Drew, Estelle Cormet-Boyaka, Xi Chen, David E. Frankhouser, Ralf Bundschuh, Pearlly Yan, Duaa Dhakhlallah, and Amal O. Amer. Methylomic correlates of autophagy activity in cystic fibrosis. J. Cystic Fibrosis. S1569-1993(18)30824-5, 2019.
  • Logan A Walker, Michael G Sovic, Chi-Ling Chiang, Eileen Hu, Jiyeon K Denninger, Xi Chen, Elizabeth D Kirby, John C Byrd, Natarajan Muthusamy, Ralf Bundschuh§, Pearlly Yan§. CLEAR: Coverage-based Limiting-cell Experiment Analysis for RNA-seq. arXiv.; 1806.03142, 2018. [§: co-senior authors]