Dr. Gavin Ha was co-supervised by Dr. Aparicio and Dr. Shah, graduating in 2014 with a PhD in Bioinformatics with his thesis on Probabilistic approaches for profiling copy number aberrations and loss of heterozygosity landscapes in cancer genomes. He continued his career in career doing postdoctoral research fellowships at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and then Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, focusing on liquid biopsies for cancer diagnosis.
Since 2018, Dr. Ha has been leading his own research group at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre studying the role of genomic alterations in cancer. He and his research team focus on developing and applying computational methods to profile cancer genomes from patient tumors and blood. His laboratory develops novel approaches to study cell-free DNA released from tumor cells into the blood (also known as circulating tumor DNA). The use of this approach, called “liquid biopsies,” combined with insights from tumor genome analysis, will be critical to uncover causes of treatment resistance, discover novel genetic biomarkers from the blood, and develop non-invasive applications for cancer precision medicine.