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Circulating Nucleic Acids/Liquid Biopsy Interest Group

simple logo with a test tube

The aims of the Circulating Nucleic Acid/Liquid Biopsy Interest Group are (1) working towards establishing standard practices for CNA studies; (2) sharing and optimization of DNA techniques; (3) communication of CNA research . 

Although cell free DNA was discovered in human plasma by scientists in the 1940s, only recently has interest in circulating nucleic acids risen in prominence. The most commonly-studied species, circulating cell-free DNA, has a very short half-life and is typically associated with the turnover of normal or diseased tissues. However, studies of cell-free nucleic acids also extend to the repertoire of circulating mitochondrial DNA, DNA of fetal or placental origin, methylated DNA, damage associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), aggregates of DNA particulates, cancer-associated circulating tumor DNA, and stable, circulating RNAs.

In September 2018, NIEHS Inflammation Faculty hosted a workshop focused on Circulating Cell-Free DNA. With almost 100 registered attendees, the focus of this workshop was to identify methods used in clinical practice that would be relevant to toxicology studies. Representation from NIH intramural labs included investigators from NHGRI, NCI, NHLBI and NIEHS. Scientific focus areas of circulating nucleic acids (CNA) research and biomarker studies discussed included: (a) identifying mechanisms of recurrence in prostate cancer; (b) earlier screening of prenatal genomic abnormalities; (c) understanding tissue damage associated with sickle cell crises; (d) monitoring stress; (e) tissue-specific exposures to environmental toxins in adults and the unborn; (f) guiding treatment of metastatic tumors; and (g) following patients diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus. Key areas of discussion included limitations of detection, controlling error rates in analysis, and interpretation of results with appropriate biological context.

Speaker list for 2021–2022
2nd or 4th Tuesday of the month, 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET
Contact webinar committee for partipant details


schedule - Date	Speaker	Institute 10/13/21	Dimitrios Mathios, MD	Johns Hopkins University 11/10/21	Olivier Loudig, PhD	Hackensack Meridian Health 12/8/21	Alessandro Leal, MD, PhD	Delfi Diagnostics 1/12/22	Minetta Liu, MD	Mayo Clinic 2/9/22	Sarah Amend, PhD	Johns Hopkins University 3/9/22	Erica Carpenter, MBA, PhD	University of Pennsylviania 4/13/22	Aadel Chaudhuri, MD, PhD	Washington University in St. Louis 5/11/22	Laura Donlin, PhD	Weill Cornell Medicine 5/25/22	Anton Wellstein, MD, PhD	Georgetown University Medical Center


Steering Committees

1. Research Committee - Chairs: Adam Sowalsky, Ph.D., NCI (; Aadel Chaudhuri, M.D., Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis (; and Brendan Miller, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins (
A variety of presentations directed towards applicable topics to include relevant journal articles, methods debate, data club (work in progress), or bioinformatics/computational discussions. Any member of the SIG is welcome to present. Membership is open to senior staff and trainees/fellows, both within NIH and at academic institutions. To request an opportunity to present in the seminar series, please send requests along with an abstract to the chair.

2. Standards and Technology Committee – Chair: Kevin Gerrish, Ph.D., NIEHS (
The committee continuously reviews literature from academic and commercial groups that report advances in cell free nucleic acid and liquid biopsy technology to identify standards and best practices for the execution and analysis of cell free nucleic acids research.

3. Communications and Membership – Chair: Anna Baj, B.S., NCI (
The communication and membership committee identifies research groups that conduct cell free nucleic acids research, and invites them to join the CNA/Liquid Biopsy SIG. 

Mailing List
To join the Circulating Nucleic Acid/Liquid Biopsy Interest Group mailing list, NIH-CNA-SIG, please visit the Circulating Nucleic Acid/Liquid Biopsy Listserv home page, then click the “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” link in the right sidebar.

Chair: Adam Sowalsky, Ph.D., NCI (

Mailing List

To join the Circulating Nucleic Acids/Liquid Biopsy Interest Group mailing list, please visit the Circulating Nucleic Acids/Liquid Biopsy Interest Group Listserv home page, then click the “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” link in the right sidebar.


The page was last updated on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 12:52pm