Angela Brooks

UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute

As a splicing specialist, Angela Brooks’s goal is to identify weaknesses in the cancer genome. As a research community member, Brooks’s goals include building strength through diversity.

In her position as Director of Diversity for the Genomics Institute, Dr. Brooks will continue advocating for diversity in genomics research, leading and building research organizations that are models of UCSC community values.

Pew Scholar, Brooks is an expert in the analysis of RNA sequencing data and is especially interested in the role of RNA splicing in gene expression. Brooks co-led a research group in the Pan-cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (Pan-cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) project, which contributed to the analysis of more than 2,600 genomes of 38 different tumor types, creating a huge resource of primary cancer genomes. Brooks’s Pan-Cancer research focused on changes in gene expression revealed by sequencing the RNA molecules in cancer cells in addition to the DNA sequences that are the focus of most cancer genomics studies.

When The Scientist magazine named her “A Scientist to Watch” in 2017, Brooks emphasized that beyond her lab work, she is also passionate about promoting diversity in research. “I think that’s another big goal I have: To increase the diversity of the data we have, but also to help include scientists from diverse populations to study these genomes.”

Brooks has enhanced diversity and inclusion in STEM at UC Santa Cruz by creating new training opportunities for students from underrepresented groups, collaborating with the UCSC Graduate Division to create a summer research training program for students from Southern University Baton Rouge, a historically black university, and leading and mentoring a highly diverse team of graduate and undergraduate student researchers.

Brooks is recognized in the Santa Cruz community as a top cancer researcher and a champion of diversity and inclusion on campus. She is a recipient of a grant by the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group (SCCBG), a local charity supporting cancer research as well as the Chancellor’s Achievement Awards for Diversity.