Villejuif, July 10th, 2018

Thanks to 1.3 million euros support funding from the Fondation ARC, Gustave Roussy is hiring an expert big data researcher

Sergey Nikolaev won the Cancer Research Foundation's "Tomorrow's Leaders in Oncology" Call for Projects through which 1.3 million euros will be awarded to him over the next 5 years to help him put a team together at Gustave Roussy and implement his research project. The arrival of Sergey Nikolaev, the internationally recognized bioinformatician will boost Gustave Roussy's ambition to explore new therapeutic avenues in data analysis, by developing predictive models concerning response, resistance or relapse to treatment. His research is obviously beneficial to Gustave Roussy, endowing it with the critical expertise so essential to speeding research into the genetic mutations that cause cancer and to developing new treatments.

Sergey Nikolaev's project was selected by a committee of experts convened by the ARC Foundation, as part of its "Tomorrow’s Leaders in Oncology" Call for Projects aimed at confirming the incorporation of internationally renowned researchers in the top French oncology research centers. The ARC Foundation has the ambition of setting up a network of leaders reaching across France.

As a top researcher in tumor genetics and expert in the processing and analysis of big data, Sergey Nikolaev is a specialist in data processing algorithms, an essential skill for processing big data. "Although cancers are caused by the occurrence of genetic mutations, not all are "drivers", being responsible for the appearance of cancer, he says. Identifying these "driver" mutations entails the sequencing of enormous banks of tumor tissue samples and also of healthy tissue. The result is a considerable amount of data which must then be processed using appropriate algorithms. I specialize in this type of algorithm".

Sergey Nikolaev won a PhD in Molecular Biology in Moscow (Russia), then spent 13 years at the University of Geneva (Switzerland), two of them as head of the clinical bioinformatics department dealing with tumor sequencing. In Geneva, he used his expertise in bioinformatics in tracking the genes causing skin cancer, basal-cell carcinoma. He has written several international publications including features in the major journals such as Nature Genetics, Nature Communication or the New England Journal of Medicine. Being based at Gustave Roussy, the foremost European center in the battle against cancer, he benefits from an outstanding research environment with direct access to the big data banks.

Professor Eric Solary, Research Director at Gustave Roussy, considers that: "The attraction of new talent is one of the primary concerns of the Institute. By strengthening our research platforms and fostering interaction with the clinic, Gustave Roussy has created an integrated, dynamic and productive ecosystem that is conducive to the development of these new talents. The arrival of Sergey Nikolaev confirms the attractiveness of the Institute and its dynamism. To support his research efforts the researcher has already hired two bioinformaticians with the backing of the ARC Foundation. The team intends to take the use and analysis of Big Data a long way".  

"The ARC Foundation's "Tomorrow’s Leaders in Oncology" Call for Projects is designed to help French centers of excellence to induct internationally recognized researchers to provide a type of expertise that could complement their own, explains François Dupré, Executive Director of the ARC Foundation. The previous calls for projects led to two renowned researchers in fundamental research setting up in France: the Greek Angelos Constantinou, at the Montpellier Institute of Human Genetics and the Russian Dmitry Bulavin at the Nice Research Institute on Cancer and Aging. The ARC Foundation makes a substantial contribution - 1.5 million euros – designed to enhance collaboration: the research center that hosts the researcher makes a commitment to offering the optimal conditions for the “transplant to take” and encouraging long term integration of the researcher. This is the spirit behind the ARC Foundation's Call for Projects.

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