Allegra Petti, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Allegra Petti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, and the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on gene regulation during the development and evolution of cancer. She develops analytical approaches for the integration and interpretation of multidimensional genomic data, with an emphasis on single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) data.

Dr. Petti’s current research is aimed at deciphering the relationships among genetic, transcriptional, and microenvironmental heterogeneity in AML and solid tumors. Virtually all tumors are genetically heterogeneous, containing subclonal populations of cells that are defined by distinct mutations. Subclones can have unique phenotypes that influence tumor evolution and disease progression, but these phenotypes are difficult to characterize, because it is often impossible to purify individual subclones. Using scRNA-seq, it is possible to assay gene expression in every cell in every subclone without physically purifying the subclones. By combining this data with whole genome sequence data obtained from paired tumor/normal samples, single-cell expression signatures can be directly linked to subclonal mutations. Dr. Petti is extending this approach to understand the biological basis of relapse in AML, and to build multidimensional portraits of solid tumors aimed at understanding the relationships among transcriptional heterogeneity, genetic heterogeneity, neoantigens, infiltrating immune cells, and clonotypic diversity of T-cell receptors.

Before coming to Washington University, Dr. Petti was a post-doctoral fellow with Prof. David Botstein at Princeton University. She earned a PhD from Harvard Medical School in the lab of Prof. George Church, and received a BA in Biology from Rice University.

Dr. Petti’s publications