Alexandre (Alex) Gaspar Maia, Ph.D., is the head of the Functional Epigenomics Laboratory at Mayo Clinic where he is combining some of the most advanced sequencing techniques to profile the epigenomic landscape at a single-cell level, primarily focusing on enhancer elements and transcriptional dependencies in ovarian cancer.
Dr. Maia has done extensive work in epigenetic regulation of stem cells, cellular reprogramming and cancer, and is interested in using epigenomic profiling of enhancer elements to decipher cellular heterogeneity, particularly to understand cancer stem cell states.
- Technology development. By adapting the most recent advances in sequencing technologies to a variety of model systems (3D organoids, patient-derived xenografts and liquid biopsies), Dr. Maia aims to address tumor heterogeneity and epigenomic profiling in small populations of cells.
- Mechanistic studies. Using CRISPR/Cas9-based technologies and co-culturing systems to address cellular heterogeneity, Dr. Maia aims to target novel transcription factor candidates and noncoding elements of the genome to functionally validate their roles in drug sensitivity. Coupling time-lapse and advanced culturing systems using microfluidic devices to test different drug combinations.
- Bioinformatic analysis. With a special interest in incorporating different modalities of sequencing to identify epigenomic patterns, Dr. Maia focuses on extracting the most information from RNA-seq, HiChIP, HiC, ATAC-seq and single-cell ATAC-seq/RNA-seq data.
Significance to patient care
Advancing the current understanding of cancer stem cell states is extremely valuable for designing novel therapies and target transcriptional dependencies for each patient. This is ultimately the goal of personalized medicine.
- Early-Career Investigator, Ovarian Cancer Academy, U.S. Department of Defense, 2021-2025
- Recipient, Career Enhancement Program Award, Ovarian SPORE, Mayo Clinic, 2019-2020
- Recipient, Career Development Award, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, 2018
- Postdoctoral fellowship, New York Stem Cell Foundation, 2014-2017
- Recipient, C1 Award for the Single-Cell Auto-Prep System with ATAC-seq, Fluidigm, 2016
- Recipient, Postdoctoral Recognition Award, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2014
- Postdoctoral fellowship, Breast Cancer Research Program, Department of Defense, 2011-2014
- Ph.D. fellowship, Science and Technology Foundation, Portugal, 2003-2007
- Socrates scholarship, University of Porto, Portugal, 2000-2001