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APR 20, 2021 4:30 PM PDT

High-throughput clinical and environmental viral extraction and sequencing.

Sponsored by: Tecan
C.E. Credits: CEU
Speaker
  • Associate Professor; Director, WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction, Weill Cornell Medicine
    Biography

      Dr. Christopher Mason is an Associate Professor of Genomics, Physiology, and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction, as well as an affiliate of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Rockefeller University, Harvard Medical School, and Yale Law School. The Mason laboratory develops and deploys new biochemical and computational methods in functional genomics to elucidate the genetic basis of human disease and physiology. We create and deploy novel techniques in next-generation sequencing and algorithms for: tumor evolution, genome evolution, DNA and RNA modifications, and genome/epigenome engineering. We also work closely with NIST/FDA to build international standards for these methods (SEQC2, IMMSA, and Epigenomics QC groups), to ensure clinical-quality genome measurements and editing. We also work with NASA to build integrated molecular portraits of genomes, epigenomes, transcriptomes, and metagenomes for astronauts, which help establish the molecular foundations and genetic defenses for enabling long-term human spaceflight. He has won the NIH's Transformative R01 Award, the NASA Group Achievement Award, the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance Young Investigator award, the Hirschl-Weill-Caulier Career Scientist Award, the Vallee Scholar Award, the CDC Honor Award for Standardization of Clinical Testing, and the WorldQuant Foundation Scholar Award. He was named as one of the "Brilliant Ten" Scientists by Popular Science, featured as a TEDMED speaker, and called "The Genius of Genetics" by 92Y. He has >200 peer-reviewed papers and scholarly works that have been featured on the covers of Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Microbiology, and Neuron, as well as legal briefs cited by the U.S. District Court and U.S. Supreme Court. Coverage of his work has also appeared on the covers of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, TIME, The LA Times, and across many media (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, PBS, NASA, NatGeo). He is an inventor on four patents, co-founded five biotechnology start-up companies, and serves as an advisor to many others.


    Abstract

    COVID-19 is a severe disease that has caused >1 million deaths in under one year. As this disease is novel, the molecular and cellular underpinnings of the progressive tissue injury are poorly understood, as is the role of direct versus indirect viral-induced injury. This study compared spatially-resolved gene expression in fixed lung tissue from autopsies of COVID-19 patients with high and low viral loads to those who suffered from other respiratory diseases – flu or non-viral acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – and normal lung tissue. We used the DreamPrep™ NAP workstation to extract RNA and DNA to profile 735 COVID-19 patients. Using normal samples as a reference, there was an enrichment of genes involved in antigen presentation and interferon response in high and low viral load patients. Between COVID-19 cohorts, there was an overall upregulation of individual interferon-stimulating genes in COVID-high patients, and an increase in collagen genes found in COVID-low patients. Pathway analysis revealed enrichment in interferon alpha/beta and gamma signaling in COVID-19 samples compared to normal, and this enrichment scaled with viral load. COVID-high patients showed enrichment in these pathways compared to flu and ARDS patients, while COVID-low patients had enrichment of collagen-related pathways compared to flu and ARDS.


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