Chelsea Mayoh began her research career at the Genome Sciences Centre within the BC Cancer Agency, Canada. Here, she worked on understanding the heterogeneity and causes of relapse in children with medulloblastoma, while also working on the initial stages of Canada’s personalised oncogenomics program for adults.
In 2015 she joined Children’s Cancer Institute as the sole bioinformatician which led to the establishment of the Institute’s first Bioinformatics Group. At the same time as establishing a team of bioinformaticians and expanding the bioinformatics capabilities of the organisation as a whole, she began working on the Zero Childhood Cancer Program (ZERO), developing the bioinformatics tools needed to analyse the RNA of tumours of children participating in the Program’s national clinical trial – the next-generation RNA sequencing (transcriptome) pipeline. Chelsea and her team also developed and maintain the drug discovery pipeline for the trial, enabling rapid screening of 125 drugs to identify which of these could potentially be effective in treating a particular child’s cancer.
Outside of ZERO, the team provides large-scale data analysis for around 200 different research projects each year, collaborating with each of the Institute’s research groups as well as assisting clinicians at the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital. Chelsea is keen to grow the bioinformatics team – ideally embedding a bioinformatician in every one of the Institute’s research teams – and streamlining processes so they become faster and more automated, reducing human workload and human error.
Chelsea says bioinformatics is a perfect fit for her. ‘I always wanted to do something related to the human body and I loved computing, so I asked: What can I do that puts the two together?’ A desire to help children is also a strong source of motivation. ‘Knowing that the work I do every day directly impacts children with cancer and their families gives me a great sense of pride, joy and contentment.’