Dissertation Defense Announcement
To:  The George Mason University Community

Candidate: Zhaoming Wang
Program:    PhD Bioinformatics
Date:           Thursday May 23, 2013
Time:          1:00 p.m.
Place:     NCI Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory
                8717 Grovemont Circle
               Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Dissertation Director: Dr. Stephen Chanock
Committee Chair: Dr. Donald Mun On Seto
Committee members: Dr. Jason Kinser, Dr. Patrick Gillevet, Dr. Laufey Amundadottir, Dr. Meredith Yeager

Title: "Genome Wide Association Studies Discovering Genetic Susceptibility Alleles for Human Cancers "

The dissertation is on reserve in the Johnson Center Library, Fairfax campus.
The doctoral project will not be read at the meeting, but should be read in advance.

All members of the George Mason University community are invited to attend.

Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have been tremendously successful in discovering common genetic variations that influence susceptibility to complex diseases and traits, including a wide range of cancers. A robust bioinformatics analysis is essential in support of conducting GWAS. Billions of genotypes have to be efficiently stored in a repository and undergo rigorous quality control processes before the final genotype and phenotype association analysis can be performed and subsequently published. Data analysis pipelines and data build processes need to be automated and executed on high performance computing clusters.  All these bioinformatics aspects are reflected in the following research projects that form my thesis: (1) Genetic admixture and population substructure in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica; (2) Improved imputation of common and uncommon SNPs with a new reference set; (3) Chromosome Y haplogroups and prostate cancer in populations of European and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry; (4) Glioma GWAS and meta analysis replicated previous findings; (5) GWAS identifies new lung cancer susceptibility loci in never-smoking women in Asia; and (6) Imputation and subset based association analysis across different cancer types identifies multiple independent cancer risk loci in the TERT-CLPTM1L region on chromosome 5p15.33. The next generation of GWAS, together with exome and/or whole genome sequencing (WGS), will add to a rich knowledge base to further elucidate the complex genetic architecture of cancer susceptibility.