Dialog Box

Technologic Advancements Working Group

Key Objective: 

Recent advances in ‘omics technologies have dramatically changed the amount, depth and diversity of data that can be collected for clinical diagnostic, predictive and prognostic value and for research purposes to elucidate mechanisms of oncogenesis, metastasis, development of resistance and relapse.

The Technology Advancements Working Group has the mandate to assess the feasibility of incorporating current technologies into the ICGC ARGO data stream and defining minimal data sets and standards. The Working Group is also tasked with scanning the technology horizon and to evaluate new methods as they near mainstream application to determine if they should be incorporated as ICGC ARGO data standards.

The goal of the Technology Advancements Working Group is: to put forth guidelines for the appropriate use of technologies; to define minimal requirements for completeness of ‘omics datasets; to mandate data quality metrics of such datasets and to evaluate and prescribe the recommended content of datasets for uniformity across the collective projects.

Working Group Leader(s) Name Institution and contact:

John McPherson  

UC Davis School of Medicine, USA

Working Group Contact: 


Dr. McPherson is the Deputy Director of the UCD Comprehensive Cancer Center and Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine. 

Dr. McPherson has deep expertise in DNA sequencing and cancer genomics through his involvement in the Human Genome Project and large-scale tumor sequencing as a founding member of the International Cancer Genome Consortium. Within the ICGC, Dr. McPherson led the whole genome sequencing of >200 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas using laser capture microdissected material. His current interests lie in understanding the impact of structural rearrangements in tumors on gene expression; in bringing advanced genomic technologies to clinical application in personalized diagnosis and targeted therapeutics; in maximizing the data yield from small biopsies and circulating cell free DNA; and in reducing chemotherapy-induced side effects during cancer treatment. 

Dr. McPherson’s career also previously spanned three Genome Centers: as Co-Director, the National Human Genome Research Centre - Chromosome 5 Genome Center (1993-1996); as Co-Director, the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center (WU; 1996-2003); and as Senior Faculty, the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM; 2003-2007). At WU he pioneered many large-scale mapping and sequencing technologies and was the lead author on the human genome physical map, co-published with the initial draft sequence of the human genome; and at BCM he established an early high-throughput targeted resequencing pipeline with a peak capacity of one million Sanger sequences per month of PCR amplified genome targets. The primary objective of the BCM pipeline was the sequencing of all ion channel genes (~250) in 500 sporadic epilepsy patients and controls. This pipeline was also used to examine lung adenocarcinomas and glioblastomas as part of trans Genome Center collaborations, the Tumor Sequencing Project and the nascent Cancer Genome Atlas, respectively. These projects laid the groundwork for the future large-scale efforts at utilizing high-throughput genomic technologies to unravel the cancer genome.

Gad Getz 

Broad Institute, USA

Dr. Getz is an internationally acclaimed leader in cancer genomics and is pioneering widely used tools for analyzing cancer genomes. 

Dr. Getz is a Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. He is faculty and Director of Bioinformatics at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center and Department of Pathology, and is an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he directs the Cancer Genome Computational Analysis Group. He is also the inaugural incumbent of the Paul C. Zamecnik Chair in Oncology at the MGH Cancer Center.

In addition to his roles at the MGH and the Broad Institute, Dr. Getz is the principal investigator of the Processing Genome Data Analysis Center (GDAC), as part of the NCI Genome Data Analysis Network; a co-leader of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) project; and a co-principal investigator of the Broad’s Proteogenomics Data Analysis Center. Dr. Getz was a member of the NCI’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel and co-led one of three NCI Cloud Pilots. He has published numerous papers in prominent journals describing new methodologies to study cancer genomes that have identified new genes and pathways involved in different tumor types, mutational signatures, and tumor evolution.

Dr. Getz received his B.S. degree in Physics and Mathematics from Hebrew University and a M.Sc. in Physics from Tel-Aviv University. He later earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He completed his postdoctoral training at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard with Dr. Todd Golub, where he focused on developing computational tools and analyzing expression of miRNAs across cancer.

Current Membership List:




John McPherson

UC Davis School of Medicine


Gad Getz

Broad Institute


Tatsuhiro Shibata

National Cancer Center


Nitzan Rozenfeld

CRUK, Cambridge Institute

United Kingdom

Ivo Gut

Centro Nacional de Analisis Genomico


Susie Cooke

University of Glasgow

United Kingdom

Hannah Xue

Applied Genomics Center, Kong University of Science and Technology


Sun-Young Kong

National Cancer Center


Eun Sook Lee

National Cancer Center


Kyong-Ah Yoon

National Cancer Center


Jennifer Jennings

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research


Yasser Riazalhosseini

McGill University