Cancer is the leading cause of premature death in Canada. Each year, there will be more than 175,000 new cases of cancer and approximately 75,000 deaths from this disease. In other words, every day an estimated 500 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer and another 200 will die. To improve cancer treatment and reduce the burden of this disease, our researchers strive to expand their understanding of cancer biology. By using multi-disciplinary approaches, they elucidate the underpinnings of cancer hallmarks and translate these discoveries into novel cancer therapeutics.
Our researchers focus on various aspects related to key hallmarks of cancer such as:
- genome instability
- cell death resistance
- proliferative signalling
- evasion of growth suppressors
- replicative immortality
- energy metabolism
- cancer stem cells
- inflammation and immune evasion.
Faculty Involved in Cancer Research
Current research interest is in molecular biology and cytogentics of skin malignancies particularly melanoma and the implementation of molecular testing for diagnostic and targeted therapeutic purposes as part of personalized medicine.
Other areas of research include evaluation and implementation of whole slide imaging (WSI) as a tool for teledermatopathology
Dr. Aldape is a neuropathologist with a research interest in primary brain tumors. He has experience with identification of biomarkers in gliomas, including microarray studies. He has identified a mesenchymal subgroup of glioma, which may be related to microenvironmental factors. His work characterizes glioma subtypes as well as identifies clinically relevant molecular alterations in these tumors.
We study how processes important in normal development are recapitulated in repair processes or dysregulated in pathologic processes involving the musculoskeletal system. We are unraveling the role of signaling pathways such as Wnt and hedgehog, in stem cells, during embryonic development, in tissue repair and regeneration, as well as in neoplasia.
My laboratory conducts multi-disciplinary studies to identify genetic alterations that play a role in breast cancer and sarcoma and to determine their clinical importance. Our goals are to explore the biology of these genetic alterations, to aid in diagnosis and treatment, and to discover novel targets for therapeutics.
Dr Asa is a Clinician-Scientist with a focus on Endocrine Pathology. Her research aims to identify the basis for development of endocrine tumors, to improve diagnostic tests and to identify targets for novel therapies of those diseases.
My research program is focused on translational genomics - specifically discovery and functional characterization of cancer biomarkers and their applications to clinical setting. A major area of current research is investigation of epigenetic markers of genitor-urinary and gastro-intestinal neoplasms using genome-wide interrogation strategies.
Dr. Bartlett is Director of OICR’s Transformative Pathology Platform. He is developing new diagnostic approaches to improve patient diagnosis and treatment. By gaining an understanding of the molecular complexity of cancer, accurate diagnostic approaches can be developed to ensure that patients receive the most appropriate treatment.
My laboratory investigates the basic cellular pathways and processes that maintain proper growth and differentiation in tissues under the control of sex hormones. We develop vitro models originating from normal primary human cells derived from patient biopsies to address basic questions in both breast and ovarian carcinogenesis.
My research interests include the discovery and validation of novel biomarkers for pancreatic cancer and subsequently elucidating their biological roles in the disease.
We study the process by which a mutation in a single cell eventually leads to malignant cancer. We utilize a variety of techniques that incorporate cutting edge genetics, genomics, and proteomics strategies.
- Carry out collaborative studies with clinical colleagues on clinico-pathological correlations, provisions of diagnosis and treatments and outcome of paediatric diseases. My areas of interest include paediatric tumours, pediatric renal and lung diseases.
- Carry-out collaborative research with clinical colleagues using animal models to assess new modalities of treatment.
My research focuses on two areas: (1) clinical utility of biomarkers (proteins & DNA) in lymphoproliferative and cerebrovascular diseases, and (2) practice-based research;
My main research interest is in the clinicopathologic and molecular characterization of breast carcinoma. This includes: evaluation of pathologic predictors of recurrence and treatment response, role of host factors in breast cancer progression, and molecular correlates of structural/histologic changes. Other interests: ovarian cancer, digital pathology.
Dr. Charames' research interests are in the development of genomic and proteomic strategies for improved clinical diagnostics, with a special focus in breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers. His translational research approach aims to use high-throughput genomic sequencing, in addition to proteomics and biomarker discovery technologies, to improve individualized medicine.
Currently, my research is focused on the molecular diagnosis and classification of placental hydatidiform moles.
Our lab is interested in the mechanisms that underlie the stem cell identity and direct cell fate in the normal brain and in glioblastoma.
Dr. Dennis has been studying metastasis for decades. One of his current projects focuses on cancer cell metabolism, and how cancer cells consume more energy, grow aberrantly, and spread throughout the body.
From the point-of-view of human disease research, our major interest is cancer, but other diseases including neurodegeneration, inflammation and skin disorders are also of interest. Our laboratory integrates basic, cell biology and translational research under one roof.
Leveraging clinical neuropathology expertise and resources to develop novel approaches to the understanding of neurological diseases
Breast cancer has to invade the breast to be able to spread. It is the two steps of invasion and spread beyond the breast (metastasis) that result in breast cancer deaths. I believe that the study of these changes will lead to the identification of potential diagnostic, prognostic and predictive markers and also valuable therapeutic targets.
My research interests include: developing new panels of immunohistochemical markers for the differentiation of high grade tumours and exploring radiology- pathology correlation particularly in the area of prostate cancer and MRI. I am also interested in studies utilizing histomorphological features and biomarkers to predict disease progression and outcome especially in urothelial carcinoma.
My current research interests include proteomics, mass spectrometry and biomarker discovery. My basic research program is focused on the development of proteomic methods to analyze proteins in biological samples and study protein function. My clinical research program is aimed at improving diagnostics of male infertility and prostate cancer.
Areas of special interest/expertise: Medical Laboratory Management, Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Morphology, Flow Cytometry and Hemoglobinopathies.
Translational cancer genomics primarily in the areas of gastrointestinal cancers
Dr. Ghaffar is an Assistant Professor in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, Adjunct Scientist in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Director of Laboratory Hematology at St. Michael's Hospital. His main areas of interest include lymphoproliferative disorders and flow cytometry.
Application of immunohistochemistry studies as diagnostic and prognostic tool chiefly in gynecologic neoplasia and lymphomas with special interest in targeted therapy determinants.
Our research program is aimed at the determination of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer. A major focus is on the genetic and the cell signaling factors that promote the risks for human cancer.
Our lab studies molecular-genetic pathways that govern embryonic and postnatal development of the mammary gland. We specifically focus on the role of two fundamental developmental pathways, the Hedgehog and the Wnt-signalling pathways, play in the control of mammary gland morphogenesis as well as their role in malignant transformation of this tissue.
Breast cancer has been the focus of my research in the last 25 years. Specifically, I have concentrated on the investigation of biological markers as prognostic and predictive factors for response to therapy.
The Hawkins laboratory focuses on genetic and proteomic markers for prognostication and therapy guidance in paediatric brain tumours including astrocytoma, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma and ependymoma.
Main focus is on pancreatic cancer biology and experimental treatment, using patient-derived primary xenografts. Expertise in analytical methods for studying complex biological processes in the near-clinical setting.
My main focus is on novel biomarkers and potential immune targets in gastrointestinal and hepatopancreaticobiliary cancer.
Dr. Gaiane Iakovleva is an anatomical pathologist and a research lead at Markham Stouffville Hospital. She specializes in GU pathology and participates in collaborative research projects in the field.
Herditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia study; Ongoing study of the Utility of examining deeper histologic sections and/or special stains in order to enhance the accuracy of diagnosis of dermatopathologic specimen
Our research laboratory is interested in exploring the cellular and molecular mechanisms of tumor cell adhesion and migration, in an effort to develop biomarkers relevant to the invasion of cancer cells in vivo, and to generate inhibitors of these processes.
Work in my laboratory focuses on the development of new testing that can be utilized in the clinical setting. We are using next generation sequencing and multiplex mutation testing to genotype blood and tissue samples from patients with diseases such as melanoma and lung cancer to better understand their underlying biology.
Dr. Kandel's clinical expertise is in the diagnosis of soft tissue and bone tumors. Her research interest is in regenerative medicine and the musculoskeletal system and the mechanisms regulating tissue repair.
Primary research interests include colorectal cancer (special focus on prognostic and predictive factors), inflammatory bowel disease and acute and chronic liver disease.
Study of pituitary tumours using histology, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy and, in collaboration, applying molecular/genetic methods. Tumour morphology is correlated with clinical findings, endocrinologic and imaging parameters. Investigations include: biomarkers, angiogenesis, biologic behaviour, prediction of prognosis and assessment of therapeutic responsiveness.
My current research interests include novel tumor biomarker discovery for ovarian cancer and application of proteomics to clinical practice.
Dr Lerner-Ellis is a molecular geneticist who serves as Head and Director of the Advanced Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Mount Sinai Hospital and an Associate at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. In addition to his core interests in molecular diagnostics, as applied to breast and colon cancer, a major aim of his research is to integrate genome sequencing into the general practice of medicine.
The Cancer Invasion and Metastasis laboratory (CIMlab) uses a combination of cell biology, leading edge imaging techniques and clinical studies to investigate the mechanisms of early cancer invasion.
My work concentrates on the study of biomarkers in endocrine tumors and their role as prognostic and diagnostic markers.
My main interest is diseases of the breast - correlation of clinical, imaging and pathologic issues.
His research interest is focused on neuropathology, particularly the mechanisms of development and progression of degenerative diseases of the brain, including Alzheimer's disease, the non-Alzheimer dementias, movement disorders, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.He also publishes regularly on neuro-oncology and diagnostic aspects of general neuropathology.
My core research interests lie in translational research in the field of tumour biomarkers.
My lab focuses on colorectal cancer research and specifically colorectal cancer-initiating cells. We are interested in studying clonal cooperation and novel therapeutic strategies. We are also interested in studying the role of the microbiome and how it influences primary tumour growth, as well as, metastases.
Molecular mechanisms of cancer: understanding the role of tumour suppressors and oncoproteins in cancer biology
My research involves the study of women's health pathology. It focuses on the discovery and application of novel tools (molecular, immunohistochemical, morphometric) in the histopathologic diagnosis of diseases of the breast and female reproductive system. It also focuses on the development of practical diagnostic algorithms in gynecologic pathology.
I am interested in quality assurance of multidisciplinary approach to breast pathology (malignant, borderline and benign lesions) combining clinical, imaging and pathology findings and immunohistochemistry, in particular breast biomarkers.
Primary research is in cancer biomarkers, particularly the application of mismatch repair (MMR) gene expression immunohistochemistry and biomarkers in colorectal carcinoma.
Secondary research is in pathology informatics and the application of information tools to support and enhance pathology reporting.
My main research interests are in the areas of autoimmune diseases and cancer. Recently, I have focused on the role of neuropilins in cancer progression and metastasis, as well as the immunotherapy of autoimmune (type 1) diabetes.
Our research program focuses on molecular networks implicated in cancer and diabetes. We are investigating signaling pathways contributing to tumor initiation, cancer stem cell maintenance and metastatic dissemination of breast cancers. We are also exploring mechanisms governing insulin resistance and pancreatic β-cell replication important for the design of regenerative therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
My lab studies the molecular biology of human brain tumours. We have developed model systems to analyze the manner in which brain tumours grow, invade, and evade therapy. Our goal is to increase our understanding of brain tumour biology so that new treatments can be discovered in the lab.
Research insterest focus on cutaneous neoplasia, and in particular melanoma, and providing pathological support for clinical studies.
My research has focused on exploring markers and diagnostic tools in clinical practice as well as development of an integrated morphological and molecular approach in cytopathology, especially for effusions and fine needle aspirates of lung and lymph nodes. Current projects are oriented to applying advanced molecular techniques for genomic profiling of different tumors using cytological samples and exploring new strategies for bio-banking.
Dr Schwock's interests involve mechanisms of progression and metastasis in solid tumors, the application of molecular oncologic pathology to minimal specimen types, and Cytopathology training and education.
Our laboratory characterizes breast and prostate cancer biomarkers that have diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Functional testing of these biomarkers is done to understand molecular mechanisms of human tumorigenesis. New molecular therapies arising from our mechanistic understanding of cancer development are tested in a clinically relevant patient-derived tumor xenografted mouse model.
Research interests focus primarily on the study of genomic disease and pediatric leukemias using molecular cytogenetic techniques, and the application of genomic microarray technology to the study of genomic disease.
The major focus of my research has been to improve the understanding of the classification, etiology, and pathogenesis of high grade serous carcinoma, an uncommon but deadly disease of the ovary and fallopian tube which invariably presents at an advanced stage with an over 90% mortality rate.
My research uses the tools of modern sequence-based genomics to discover the mutations that are present in the genomes of paediatric cancer patients, and to understand how these mutations alter the somatic transcriptome. I have a strong interest in sarcoma biology. I'm directly involved with the introduction of cutting-edge genomics, such as whole genome sequencing, into clinical practice.
Clinical and translational studies investigating the role of genes in cutaneous lymphomas, melanoma and merkel cell carcinoma through immunohistochemical and molecular characterization.
Our lab is primarily interested in chromosomal changes occuring in cancer. We provide clinical analysis for primarily adult cancer patients with a focus on hematological malignancies. Primary techniques include karyotyping and FISH but research and translational studies are also being developed using SNP arrays and next-generation sequencing.
Dr Somers has an ongoing interest in the improvement of pediatric pathology diagnostics, including the detection of genetic changes in pediatric sarcomas and their clinical applications. As part of this interest, he is currently focused on the application and implementation of cutting edge diagnostic techniques to pediatric sarcomas, including array-based assays, nanotechnology and sequence-based technologies.
Clinical applications of new technologies in genetic diagnoses and treatments.
Dr. Stockley’s research interests include development of genomic tests for molecular diagnostics, application of new technologies such as Next-Generation Sequencing to clinical care for acquired and inherited disease, and quality management for high-complexity clinical laboratory testing.
My areas of research include mucosal immunology/inflammatory bowel diseases, histology of animal models and premalignant/malignant lesions of the gastrointestinal tract.
We use functional genomic and epigenomic tools to investigate how normal cells are turned into brain tumours. In addition, we use the genomic analyses results to create new animal models of medulloblastoma and ependymoma so that novel targeted therapies can be developed. This multi-layered approach allows for rapid clinically-important changes to brain tumour therapy, such that the quality of life of patients can be drastically improved.
- Minimal residual disease in acute myeloid and lymphoblastic leukemia (AML-MRD coordinator for NOPHO)
- Molecular biology of myeloid leukemia
- Monoclonal B- lymphocytosis and B-cell lymphoma
My primary research interest is in understanding better the genomic and molecular abnormalities in lung and pancreatic cancer, such that we can improve the accuracy of our diagnosis and treatment of these deadly cancers. Comprehensive analysis of these tumors at gene sequence, gene copy number and proteomics levels may provide new “integrated” understanding of the molecular pathology of these tumors.
Standardization of reporting regression of colorectal cancer after neoadjuvant therapy.
My research interests revolve around the formation of digital clinical workflow to evolve digital pathology and image analysis systems as clinically used systems for primary diagnosis. The center of my research interest is in a translation of disperse digital pathology tools into integrated systems for use in clinical subspecialized pathology practice.
The Wallace lab is working on the regulation of neurogenesis and neural progenitor transformation in the vertebrate CNS and regenrative medicine approaches to retina repair.
Our research is focused on lymphocyte proliferative disorders. We have identified a novel diagnostic entity of clonal B lymphocytosis and chromosomal translocation t(2;7) linking CDK6 to IGK locus in B-cell neoplasia. As part of NSERC Strategic network, we have been developing nanoparticle probes for targeting leukemia cells.
Cytopathology. Surgical pathology, with interest in tumours of the gastrointestinal tract.
Dr. Wong's research interest is in immunodiagnostics, biomarker discovery and metabolism of immunosuppressants.
My research interests are clinically oriented and centered around head and neck/thyroid pathology.
My research interests are molecular mechanisms of hematopoietic neoplasms.
Three approaches are taken to study miRNA function in transgenic mice expressing miR-17, versican 3’UTR, which can bind endogenous miRNAs and relieve mRNAs for translation, and anti-miR-378 construct.
The research conducted by Dr Yeger encompasses the physiological functions and development of the pulmonary neuroendocrine cell system and role in lung biology. Extensions from these studies have been made into the pathobiology of Cystic Fibrosis lung disease and neuroendocrine cancers.
The research I am involved in is clinically oriented and concentrates on my area of surgical pathology expertise: breast pathology. My most recent work has concentrated on sentinel lymph nodes and breast carcinoma. Other ongoing research work includes the pathology of ductal carcinoma in situ and lobular neoplasia, and predictive biomarkers and breast carcinoma.
My laboratory is focusing on understanding the pathogenesis of urologic tumors including renal cell carcinoma and prostate cancer using an integrated genomic, quantitative proteomic, transcriptomic and miRNA approach with extensive bioinformatics analysis, for the purpose of biomarker discovery, understanding mechanisms of drug resistance, and the development of new targeted therapy.
We are using mouse models, cell and molecular biology and bioinformatics to identify mechanisms of cancer initiation, progression and metastasis, that can be exploited for novel therapy. We focus on breast and brain cancers, the tumor suppressors Rb, Pten and p53 as well as the HER2 oncogene. We are also studying the effect of the Rb pathway on aging.
Our research has been focusing on the role of immune cells, in particular T lymphocytes, in various diseases such as organ graft rejection, autoimmune diseases and cancers. By dissecting the molecular mechanisms whereby immune cells control immunity and tolerance development, for better diseases control via regulation of the immune cells.