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Coding and non-coding cancer mutations

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Somatic mutations are the driving force of cancer genome evolution. The rate of somatic mutations appears to be greatly variable across the genome due to variations in chromatin organization, DNA accessibility and replication timing. However, other variables that may influence the mutation rate locally are unknown. I will discuss recent findings from our lab on how DNA -binding proteins and differences in exons and introns influence mutation rate. These finding have important implications for our understanding of mutational and DNA repair processes and in the identification of cancer driver mutations. Given the evolutionary principles of cancer, one effective way to identify genomic elements involved in cancer is by tracing the signals left by the positive selection of driver mutations across tumours. We analyze thousands of tumor genomes to identify driver mutations in coding and non-coding regions of the genome.


Nuria Lopez¬-Bigas is an ICREA Research Professor at the Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine and associate professor at the University Pompeu Fabra. She leads the Biomedical Genomics lab (, focused on the study of cancer from a genomics perspective. She is particularly interested in the identification of cancer driver mutations, genes and pathways across tumor types, and in understanding mutational processes in cancer cells. Her lab has actively participated in the major cancer genomics projects, including the International Cancer Genomics Consortia (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).

This talk is part of the Seminars on Quantitative Biology @ CRUK Cambridge Institute series.

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