Christina Bligaard Pedersen

PhD project by Christina Bligaard Pedersen

Name: Christina Bligaard Pedersen
Project Title: Precision Treatment of Breast Cancer Using Integration of Transcriptomics and Immune Profiling
Single Cell Omics
Lars Rønn Olsen (DTU Health Tech) and Maria Rossing (Center for Genomic Medicine, Rigshospitalet)

Project Description:
Almost 5,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Denmark every year. Despite considerable advances in early detection, diagnosis, and treatment, recurrent metastatic disease still claims the lives of a significant portion of patients, making it the leading cause of cancer related death in women.

Research over the past couple of years has made it increasingly evident that the immune system plays a central role in both cancer development and treatment response, by simultaneously controlling the disease and shaping the sub-clonal composition of the tumor. With the advent of single-cell technologies, it is becoming possible to study the interaction between tumor and immune cells in a detailed manner. Accordingly, this project will use both single-cell RNA-sequencing and mass cytometry to study the tumors of Danish breast cancer patients treated at Rigshospitalet - Copenhagen University Hospital. By correlating the results of these analyses to clinical data regarding applied treatments and responses, the goal is to understand which breast cancer patients could benefit from immunotherapy, and how we can recognize these patients at diagnosis.

This project aims to take the initial steps in including immune profiling as a prognostic biomarker for breast cancer treatment response. A deeper understanding of the immune infiltration in tumor can both lead to better patient stratification and also facilitate the increased use of immunotherapies in clinics. Ultimately, this can ensure treatment with maximal efficacy and minimal adverse effects.

Additionally, while breast cancer will be the sole focus of this PhD project, the methods are directly applicable to other cancers as well. Because the project is conducted in cooperation between bioinformaticians that can develop relevant computational pipelines to analyze the data, and clinicians, who truly understand the clinical setting and challenges related to routine treatment, it has a unique chance of having a real impact for those who need it – the patients.


Lars Rønn Olsen
Group Leader, Associate Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 24 25