Genomics Institute project matches tumors to treatment options, helps find hope

When you hear the words "Santa Cruz," you likely think of surf, sand and other beachside fun. It's easy to forget there is a world class research institution, University of California, Santa Cruz, nestled in the redwoods right above town.

With the arresting beauty of the Monterey Bay and nostalgic fun of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, tourists rarely ask about the serious research happening just up the hill. They seldom lay eyes on UC Santa Cruz, a university ranked 4th in the world for research influence, as measured by the number of times UC Santa Cruz faculty's published work is cited by scholars around the world.

So, it is understandable that even locals may not know that there is a top research team at UC Santa Cruz's Baskin School of Engineering who is taking on pediatric cancer using big data.

The City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Office recently sat down with Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative Founder Olena Morozova and UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute Scientific Director David Haussler to learn more about how UC Santa Cruz is working to better understand and better treat cancer in children -- all without the benefit of a medical school.

"We are giving new hope to these families that otherwise would be out of treatment options," says Morozova. "And time will tell if some of those will actually translate to cures," she said.