Harold Treminio

2020 UExB Student | Discher Lab

Harold Treminio is a junior undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Psychology. He is from Herndon, Virginia and is conducting research in Dr. Dennis Discher’s lab.


Research Abstract:

Gene Scaling of ACTA2 and COL1A1 in Predicting Survival of Patients with Female Gynecological Cancers

Cancer is responsible for one of the biggest counts of death in the world and continues to be studied for understanding survival and cures. Many components go into the growth and survival of tumors, but they all share common characteristics such as tissue stiffness. The regulation of specific genes in tissues often involve physicochemical processes which cause tissues to become stiff. Within the extracellular matrix (ECM), gene-gene power laws can be used to determine gene scaling with tumors found in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and their respective RNA-seq data. Out of the thirty-two possible cancer options, four were studied because of their relationship in mostly affecting females: ovarian (OV), cervical (CESC), uterine (UCS), and breast (BRCA) cancer. The two genes that were studied were COL1A1 and ACTA2, two genes which positively correlate with tumor metastasis and fibrosis. From generated survival plots, it was observed that COL1A1 is highly involved in ECM organization, while ACTA2 is involved in angiogenesis and cell migration with respect to their strong scaling genes. Many of the trends showed no significant predictions of survival within the scaling genes. However, data suggested that strong scaling genes with ACTA2 in Ovarian and Cervical cancers were also significantly involved in ECM organization. When further compared, the genes that scaled strongly with ACTA2 and COL1A1 had significant overlap, which was not observed within the other gynecological cancers. Although breast and uterine cancers do not spark any outstanding data, ovarian and cervical cancers suggest that there are other processes occurring in these tumors which are not normally occurring in other tissues.