The main research interest of Kevin C. Halling, M.D., Ph.D., is in developing RNA-based tests such as RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and NanoString to increase understanding of the molecular basis of various tumor types and to determine the role that these tests have in the clinical management of oncology patients.
Dr. Halling's work is currently focused on the detection of gene fusions of diagnostic or therapeutic importance in sarcomas, hematologic neoplasms and other tumor types, and additional studies are exploring the clinical utility of gene expression analysis.
- Developing and validating RNA-seq testing for gene fusion detection both in fresh and paraffin-embedded tissue
- Performing RNA-seq in a large cohort of patients with sarcoma to further understand the molecular pathogenesis of these tumors and advance the clinical interpretations of RNA-seq results
- Performing RNA-seq on other tumors types, such as breast cancer and salivary gland tumors, to deepen understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of these tumor types and determine whether there is clinical utility for this type of testing for these tumor types
- Exploring RNA-seq for the evaluation of tumors with defective DNA mismatch repair to determine what role RNA-seq may have in the clinical management of patients with these tumor types
- Comparing results obtained with RNA-seq with those of other next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies such as mate-pair NGS and standard DNA NGS to understand how the different methods complement one another as clinical labs work toward an integrated genomics approach to tumor evaluation
Significance to patient care
The detection of gene fusions and other types of alterations with RNA-seq and RNA-based technologies can help establish a diagnosis, determine prognosis and guide targeted therapies. However, relatively little is known about the accuracy, reproducibility and sensitivity of these assays and how to clinically interpret the results obtained with these assays. Dr. Halling's research helps address these needs.
- Recipient, Meritorious Service Award, Association for Molecular Pathology, 2018
- Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award, College of American Pathologists, 2015
- Vice-chair of research and development, Mayo Clinic Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, 2009-2015
- Chair, Molecular Oncology Committee, College of American Pathologists, 2009-2010