Headshot photo of Christopher Thomas Boniface, Ph.D.

Christopher Thomas Boniface, Ph.D.

  • Postdoctoral Scholar, CEDAR, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine


Before entering graduate school, Chris spent 12 years in academic basic science and translation medicine, primarily in the cancer setting. More recently, he worked under Dr. Paul Spellman at Oregon Health & Science University for six years as lab manager and research associate. The last two years of this work were focused on multiple clinical trials that were overseen by Drs. Joe Gray and Gordon Mills. Chris was brought into these trials because of his work in ultra-sensitive detection of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in blood-plasma. Along with a former student of Dr. Spellman’s, he developed patient-specific ctDNA monitoring assays using error-correction techniques and software pipelines to detect tumor-derived mutations at one allele in 100k in cell free DNA.

Currently, Chris’ work in ctDNA monitoring has focused on using iterative computational algorithms to model cancer evolution and disease heterogeneity. This approach relies on the clustering of variants identified by sequencing ctDNA derived from multiple liquid biopsies over time – a technique that has typically been limited to solid tissue. The ctDNA sequencing and analysis techniques he has developed generate comprehensive models of tumor evolution over the course of treatment that can identify both treatment-resistant and treatment-sensitive subclones across an entire, multitumor cell population.  Furthermore, these models can also elucidate intra-tumor heterogeneity, particularly in cases where only a single solid tissue biopsy is available for disease genotyping.

Chris a passion for solving complex technical problems and developing novel and actionable solutions for biomedical research and translational medicine.

Education and training

    • B.A., 2006, Reed College



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