Matthew Ploenzke Receives NCI F99/K00 Award

Congratulations to PhD student Matthew Ploenzke who recently received an NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00)!

This funding opportunity was open to only one applicant at the University. Matt was that applicant and he got it! He will receive funding for the remainder of his PhD studies with the opportunity for up to four years of postdoctoral funding. Rafael Irizarry is his sponsor and will help Matt transition to a suitable postdoc opportunity.

“The purpose of the award is to encourage and retain outstanding graduate students recognized by their institutions for their high potential and strong interest in pursuing careers as independent cancer researchers. The award will facilitate the transition of talented graduate students into successful cancer research postdoctoral appointments, and provide opportunities for career development activities relevant to their long-term career goals of becoming independent cancer researchers.”

See Matt’s title and narrative below.

Statistical framework for assessing drug sensitivity in vitro and linking patient outcomes

Pharmacogenomic studies offer insight into how genomic markers correlate with drug response and hold potential for developing effective personalized cancer treatment regimens, yet uncertainties surround their findings for several reasons. I develop a statistical modeling framework to quantify the posterior probability of sensitivity, study agreement, and associated uncertainty, then apply the model to pancreatic cancer-derived organoid lines. I illustrate confounding with cell growth rate, develop a shrinkage estimator for growth-rate normalized sensitivity measures, and lastly present associations between in vitro pharmacogenomic models and in vivo patient outcomes to motivate the need for both in vitro experiments and in silico methods which accurately recapitulate patient outcomes.