In this episode of UHN’s “Behind the Breakthrough” podcast, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre scientist Dr. Michael Hoffman explains how he leverages the power and speed of computers to understand the origins of cancer.
He says cancer is a disease of the DNA – the genetic code that determines our individual characteristics.
Essentially, our DNA acts as a program telling our cells what to do. In the case of cancer the wrong program gets run and cells divide in an unrestricted manner. The goal of Dr. Hoffman’s lab is to determine if there is a way of predicting when the wrong program gets run – before it ever happens.
We also learn that from age four Dr. Hoffman was in awe of the magic of computers, and how he turned his love for computers into a career in the emerging field of computational biology. He also speaks to the critical importance of training the next generation of cancer researchers, and how he views Twitter as a virtual meeting place for scientific exchange.