“Advances Toward the Next Generation Tools For Precision Medicine” – Navonil De Sarkar, PhD

“Advances Toward the Next Generation Tools For Precision Medicine” – Navonil De Sarkar, PhD

March 27, 2024 @ 12:10 pm – 1:10 pm
Ob-Gyn Conference Room #252 (2nd floor Wisconsin Diagnostic Lab Building)
Alison Brodersen
(414) 805-4763

Presented by

Navonil De Sarkar, PhD
Assistant Professor – Department of Pathology at the Medical College of Wisconsin


Navonil De Sarkar is an Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center with a dual background in computational and experimental genomics; he brings a multidisciplinary approach to studying human cancers. His research focuses on understanding the natural history of the disease, devising noninvasive approaches to track adaptive and molecular evolutionary changes in cancer accurately, and ultimately developing practical strategies for precision medicine in advanced cancer patients (Augmented precision medicine).

Navonil received his Ph.D. from the Indian Statistical Institute and joined Peter Nelson’s lab at the University of Washington & Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, for postdoctoral training. Through adopting integrative genomics approaches, Navonil developed extensive experience analyzing tumor genomes to study functionally relevant mutations and structural aberrations using tumor tissue and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Navonil participated in several large-scale consortium data analyses, including Stat-up-to-cancer germline and prostate tumor analysis efforts. Navonil led the bioinformatics analysis of the large-scale germline sequence work that highlighted the importance of inherited DNA repair genes in shaping the fate of advanced prostate cancer. He is one of the early discoverers of CDK12 loss-associated tandem duplicator signature. Subsequently, De Sarkar developed a machine learning-based classifier that accurately predicts functional homologous recombination deficiency. Recently, he co-led a study interrogating whole genomes of advanced prostate cancers using cell-free DNA sequencing and discovered imprints of cancer epigenomes in native cell-free DNA sequence data.

Navonil is a recipient of several trainee awards. To mention in 2019 Navonil received the very competitive Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award. Then onwards, Navonil is co-leading Prostate Cancer Foundation DNA repair-focused working group activities. He is the editorial board member for Translational Oncology and an associate editor for the Genitourinary Oncology edition of Frontiers journals.

Navonil re-joined MCW in March 2023 and committed to establishing a multidisciplinary research group to develop cutting-edge but practical precision medicine tools for prostate and other cancers. Building on strong biological fundamentals and detailed understandings of the disease, De Sarkar Lab (DeTAnomics Lab) is developing novel therapeutic strategies and working to co-develop new genomic assays and computational genomics tools to help us tackle the most lethal types of prostate and other cancers. DeTAnomics Lab adopts long-read genomic sequencing techniques to better understand cancer genome, transcriptome, and epigenome. In the lab, DeTAnomics lab explores the complex interplay between the genome and epigenome to uncover new insights that can lead to the development of more effective therapeutics and biomarkers. Currently, DeSarkar and his team are working on developing a practical strategy to degrade BRCA2 in tumor cells so as to confer DNA-damaging mediated therapy benefits to a wider pool of patients.

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