"The Suvà laboratory is focused on the biology of tumors of the central nervous system in particular gliomas in adults and children. We study primary human samples with single-cell genomic tools and establish genetically and epigenetically faithful models from patient tumors. Measuring single-cell programs in clinical samples, we seek a better understanding of gliomas, by dissecting how genetic and non-genetic influences are integrated in glioma cells. Additionally, we leverage single-cell technologies to characterize the glioma ecosystem, with a focus on myeloid and T cell programs. We aim to advance our knowledge and understanding of brain tumors, for a better management for patients."
- Dr. Mario L. Suvà
- Associate Pathologist, Molecular Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital
- Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
About DSA-Funded Research
Glioblastoma heterogeneity contributes to disease progression and therapeutic failure. In glioblastoma, defined cellular states drive tumor evolution, and underlie resistance to therapy. In particular, glioblastoma are thought to be driven by glioma stem cells (GSC), subpopulations of cells that have the capacity to self-renew and to generate more differentiated cancer cells. Traditional methodologies to identify GSC rely on a few functional assays and do not provide a comprehensive characterization of cellular states in human patients. Additionally, while cellular and animal models of glioblastoma are extensively used for research, very little is known about their capacity to comprehensively mirror the spectrum of cellular states present in patient samples; due to these limitations, vulnerabilities identified in models frequently do not translate to clinical settings. We propose that the range of cellular states that drive glioblastoma should first be comprehensively defined directly from patient samples, at single cell resolution, and subsequently functionally tested in animal and cell-based models. We will leverage single-cell RNA-sequencing and a comprehensive systems biology approach in order to (I) identify tumor subpopulations unbiasedly in human glioblastoma at single-cell resolution; (II) functionally test the capacity of these subpopulations to initiate tumors and to re-generate the diversity of states present in patients. Successful completion of the research will fill a fundamental and large gap of knowledge in understanding brain cancer in patients and in models and will provide novel opportunities to target key cellular states that are driving these incurable malignancies.
"Given Mario’s remarkable expertise, independence and track record, I have no doubt that he will continue his highly productive research program, and that his work could have a major impact for diagnosis and management of glioma patients. I view him as one of the world’s foremost experts on the transcriptional and epigenetic state of gliomas, and he is a terrific colleague.”
Dr. Bradley E. Bernstein
MGH Research Institute
"Mario has already established himself as a leader in single-cell genomics in the field of brain tumors, and has already been a senior/co-senior author in four extraordinarily innovative papers published in Science and Nature that characterized single-cells in human gliomas by RNA-sequencing."
Dr. David N. Louis
Massachusetts General Hospital, HMS
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