Liver cancer, the second most lethal malignancy in the world, consists of mainly hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA). However, most of patients with HCC and iCCA have limited response to molecularly-targeted therapies. Tumor heterogeneity is key factor for therapeutic failures and lethal outcomes of solid malignancies. My lab applies cutting-edge single-cell and spatial approaches to profile primary tumors from liver cancer patients and develops computational methods to understand important biological questions in liver cancer including tumor heterogeneity and tumor evolution, with the goal of improving early detection and therapeutics for liver cancer.
Dr. Ma received her Ph.D. degree in Electronic Engineering at the City University of Hong Kong in 2016. After a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, she joined NCI in 2017 as a postdoctoral fellow where she studied cancer biology using single-cell techniques. She initiated her independent research program at NCI as a Stadtman Investigator in 2022. Dr. Ma has a strong background in mathematics, information theory and machine learning. She received many awards during her training, including the NCI CCR Excellence in Postdoctoral Research Transition award. Her recent work on tumor cell biodiversity and microenvironmental reprogramming in liver cancer was showcased in the 2019-2020 NCI Center for Cancer Research Milestones publication.