Research

Dr. Heiser's research focuses on genomic and epigenomic changes that cause breast cancer, with the goal of identifying pathways and aberrations associated with therapeutic response and resistance in cancer. In her studies, she uses an integrative systems biology approach to understand cancer as a complex system. Dr. Heiser is also an active member of the DREAM Consortium, which is a community-based effort to rigorously assess and advance algorithms in computational biology.

  • Cancer systems biology Apply integrative experimental and computational approaches to understand the molecular and phenotypic basis of cancer, at bulk and single-cell levels
  • Therapeutic response Employ molecular and imaging-based experimental approaches to assess molecular and phenotypic responses of cancer cells to therapy; apply machine learning approaches to identify molecular signatures that can be used to predict response to therapy
  • Tumor microenvironment Use novel technologies to interrogate the effect of microenvironmental signals on cellular phenotype and response to therapy
  • Crowdsourcing Leverage involvement in the DREAM consortium to lead community-based challenges to advance algorithms in computational and systems biology

Selected funding

Current

  • Measuring, modeling, and manipulating heterogeneity in triple negative breast cancerNIH Cancer Systems Biology Consortium Center | Lead PI, Project 2 PI, Outreach PI
  • A framework to integrate live-cell imaging with single-cell sequencing and learn how cells adapt to new environmentsNCI R03 | Co-PI with Noemi Andor, Ph.D. of Moffitt Cancer Center
  • Integrative analysis of molecular, ultrastructural, and migratory responses of breast epithelial cells to the cytokine Oncostatin MAnna Fuller Fund | PI
  • Integrative approach to identify effective therapeutic regimens for breast cancerThe Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health and Policy PI
  • A preclinical approach to targeting cell state in aggressive metastatic breast cancerWayne D. Kuni & Joan E. Kuni Foundation | PI

Completed

  • Extrinsic perturbations of cell physiology and associated regulatory networksNIH Library of Integrated Network-based Cellular Signatures (LINCS) | Co-PI
  • Clarifying mechanisms of BET bromodomain inhibitor response in castrationresistant prostate cancerDOD | PI

Presentations

OHSU Research Week | May 2022: Dr. Heiser profiled for OHSU Research Week

MCBIOS | April 2022: "Systems biology approaches to identify effective anti-cancer treatment strategies" (presentation starts at 33:50)

OHSU Knight School | September 2019: "His, Hers, and Theirs: Re-thinking gender-specific cancers" (presentation starts at 35:54)