Global gene expression profile of oxygen regulated processes.
Global gene expression profile of oxygen regulated processes.
Courtesy of M. Ohh

Molecular & Cell Biology

Researchers involved in Molecular & Cellular Biology decipher an incredibly wide array of molecular and cellular processes. This area is the foundation for the vast majority of basic and clinical research. Research ranges from deciphering basic pathways of the cell to understanding how these pathways impact various physiological and pathological settings. Laboratories in this area utilize various approaches including genomic sequencing, microscopy, and genetic models as diverse as yeast, fruit flies, worms, mice, and mammalian systems.

These processes include:

  • chromosome structure and dynamics
  • gene expression
  • cell polarity and division
  • intracellular trafficking and compartmentalization
  • cell morphology and the cytoskeleton
  • morphogenesis
  • signalling
  • extracellular communications
  • tissue organization
  • stem cell differentiation
  • embryogenesis
  • cellular/organismal aging
  • cellular transformation
  • tumourigenesis
  • host/immune interactions
  • apoptosis
  • structure of viral proteins
  • molecular evolution

Faculty Involved in Molecular & Cell Biology Research

Professor

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.

Assistant Professor

Our lab focuses on skin stem cells and using them for skin regeneration studies.  We employ in vitro and in vivo approaches to enlighten the process of wound healing post injury, identify and track the fate of cell(s) that contribute to the healing.  In collaboration with burn surgeon-scientists and chemical engineering scientists, we aim to create a “skin substitute” that can be used for burn patients.

Sylvia Asa
Professor

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.  

Professor
Michelle Bendeck
Professor

I run a cardiovascular biology lab investigating molecular and cellular mechanisms of atherosclerosis and fibrotic heart disease.

Hal Berman
Assistant Professor

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.

Joan Boggs
Professor Emeritus / Emerita

My research program is aimed at understanding myelinogenesis by oligodendrocytes. We are currently focusing on the structure and roles of myelin basic protein in interactions with the cytoskeleton and SH3-domain proteins and the role of glycosphingolipids in cell-surface phenomena. We are also studying the effect of estrogens on oligodendrocytes and myelin.

Associate Professor
Martha Brown
Associate Professor

My lab studies the human fastidious enteric adenoviruses (HAdV-40 and 41), with a primary focus on their unique structural features and the role of these features as determinants of gut tropism. Related projects include the development of HAdV-40/41 as vaccine vectors and the study of antiviral agents for treatment of adenovirus infection.    

Professor

We are interested in studying the molecular pathogenesis of multiple myeloma (MM) and identifying prognostic and predictive biomarkers in MM. We are also interested in pre-clinical evaluation of small molecules targeting various oncogenic signaling pathways as novel therapeutic strategies in MM.      

Associate Professor

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.

Professor Emeritus / Emerita

In the basic science sphere our studies focus on the role and function of pulmonary neuroendocrine cells particularly their cellular and molecular mechanisms of O2 /CO2 sensing ; in the clinical research our studies focus on molecular mechanisms of congenital enteropathies,disorders of surfactant metabolism and  novel forms of cardiomyopathies

Professor

Our research focuses on initiation of atherosclerosis, specifically regional differences in the normal arterial intima that predispose it to atherogenesis, intimal dendritic cells and monocyte recruitment and myeloid cell proliferation in early lesions.  Another focus is functions of alpha-4 integrins in leukocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation.

Associate Professor

Our research program focuses on discovering and elucidating the molecular signaling pathways and transcription factors responsible for the development of the mechanosensory hair cells - cells that detect sound, and auditory neurons - cells that transmit sound information from the hair cells to the brain, in the mammalian inner ear.  

Professor

Lymphoma research interests
1. diagnostics, biology and immunology of lymphoma.
2. pathology review for trials 

Professor

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.

Professor
Associate Professor

My laboratory focuses on developing integrated systems biology and functional genomics approaches to: (1) understanding molecular mechanisms of acute multiple organ failure (HEART and LUNG) in the critically ill (sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome ARDS), and (2) developing an “informed” approach to the discovery of novel molecular targets for therapy including stem cell and gene therapy.

Associate Professor
Associate Professor

Kidney and prostate cancer.   Molecular pathogenesis, biomarkers for predicting disease progression, clinical behaviour in relation to histopathological and molecular characteristics of kidney and prosatte cancers, pathologic evaluation of tumour tissue following new innovations in treatment (ablative and targeted molecular therapies).

Associate Professor

The Fish lab investigates the molecular mechanisms that control endothelial cell biology. We are seeking to decipher the signaling pathways and downstream transcriptional mediators that control responses to differentiation signals (e.g. artery/vein specification and angiogenesis) as well as pro-inflammatory factors. We have identified key roles for noncoding RNAs such as microRNAs in modulating signaling pathways in endothelial cells.

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

To understand how changes in structure and organization of chromosomes and the genome contribute to genomic disease. To gain insight into genomic alterations and their predisposing underlying mechanisms using both classical and more advanced cytogenomic technologies as investigative tools.

Professor

Using a range of molecular, cell biology, animal and clinical approaches my laboratory conducts research into the pathogenesis of diabetes complications with the overriding aim of developing new therapies to prevent and treat them. 

Associate Professor

The Girardin lab studies multiple aspects of innate immunity and cellular stress responses. We have a specific interest in host response to bacterial infection, the role played by intracellular sensors such as Nod-like receptors (NLR), and the interplay between the evolutionary conserved integrated stress response (ISR) and innate immunity.

Professor

I am a cardiovascular pathologist with expertise in the study of cardiac valve disease and atherosclerosis.  I am interested in understanding the pathogenesis of these human diseases in order to propose therapeutic targets that prevent, detect and/or treat these conditions.

Professor

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.

Professor

We are interested in the structural aspects of components of the Hedgehog pathway that generate the diversity of cellular responses to the Hedgehog ligands in normal cells, during mammary gland development and in transformed (cancer) cells.

Associate Professor

Our lab studies the cytoskeleton inside of cells and how these molecular highways move key components in and out of the cell. We study both immune cells and bone cells and focus on both basic cellular machinery allowing their specialized functions, as well as the intracellular changes when these cells are impacted by infection or disease. 

Associate Professor

Molecular mechanisms underlying long term effects of brain trauma, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and Seizure disorder.

Professor

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.

Professor

We study respiratory virus-host interactions, with particular emphasis on respiratory syncytial virus, from cells to populations.

Professor

My research evolved around genetic diseases of connective tissues and pathology of extracellular matrix.  I have pioneered bioengineering of human articular and ear cartilages and addressed pathomorphology and therapy of cardiac and vascular diseases. I also aim at induction of new elastic fibers formation and aleviation of collagenous fibroses.

Assistant Professor
Professor

Dr. Jim Hu's major research goal is to develop novel gene delivery strategies in order to translate the genetic discoveries into clinical applications. His team developed novel viral vectors that can protect CF mice from acute lung bacterial infection and established methods for efficient airway gene delivery to large animals. His current endeavour is to achieve permanent airway gene correction by targeting the airway stem cells.

Professor

Molecular regulation of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation & differentiation.  Tissue-specific transgene regulation informs molecular pathophysiology.  Genetic & experimental models of cardiovascular disease.  Clinical & experimental cardiovascular imaging.  Acute cardiac care.

Professor
Lecturer

My areas of research include development of experimental models in forensic pathology and public health.    

Professor
Assistant Professor

1.  The functions of resident CD11c+ myeloid cells in healthy mouse aorta and in the initiation of atherosclerosis. 
2.  The role of oxidized lipid loading on TLR-induced inflammatory gene expression in primary macrophages and dendritic cells.
3.  Mechanisms regulating basal NF-kappaB homeostasis in endothelial cells.             

Associate Professor

Research in my laboratory has been focused on the development of genetic strategies for HIV prevention and treatment. To treat HIV-infected individuals, we are developing gene therapy whereby patients own blood cells will be genetically modified to secrete antiviral proteins that would inhibit HIV infection of target cells for life.

Professor

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.

Professor

To develop a translational research program that characterizes host-parasite interactions responsible for major global health threats such as malaria and HIV. To determine the molecular basis for adverse clinical outcomes in life-threatening inefctions and to translate this knowledge into novel therapeutic interventions.

Assistant Professor

My research aims to understand the key molecular pathways responsible for neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease and to develop novel therapies by targetting these pathways.

Assistant Professor

My laboratory focuses on understanding how chaperone molecules fail to maintain protein homeostasis in Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders with the goal of developing novel molecular therapeutics for the treatment of these disorders.

Associate Professor

Dr. Kapoor's research program is directed towards understanding the complex pathophysiology of osteoarthritis (OA) and identifying new therapeutic strategies to counteract the destruction of the articular cartilage during OA.

Associate Professor

Dr. Katz’s research interests span across all areas of Infection Prevention and Control. Areas of special interest include: Infection prevention and control in a community hospital setting, Community-associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Influenza and febrile respiratory illness.

Professor

Role of sequence and domain arrangement of tropoelastin in assembly of the elastic matrix.  Self-alignment and polymeric assembly of recombinant human elastin and other elastin-like proteins. Sequence/structure/function and evolutionary relationships between elastins and elastin-like proteins in cartilage and other matrix proteins of lower vertebrates and invertebrates.

Professor
Professor

My research is focussed on basic, translational and clinical aspects of the placental complications of pregnancy, with a focus on severe pre-eclampsia and intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR).

Associate Professor

The major focus of my research is the development and application of genomic technologies to the understanding of the causes of reproductive failure. Identification and characterization of copy number variation in infertile males, preimplantation embryos and perinatal samples provide insight into the mechanisms that cause infertility and abnormal embryonic development.

Assistant Professor
Associate Professor

Our laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms at play in the tug-of-war between viruses and the host. We want to understand how certain retroviruses enter cells and are then antagonized by innate immune molecules. Immunological recognition and restriction of viral pathogens is fundamental for fighting infectious disease.

Professor

We have identified the molecules tissue factor and fgl2/fibroleukin, which are membrane associated serine proteases. These molecules play pivotal roles in the pathogenesis of viral hepatitis (fgl2/fibroleukin), allo- and xenograft rejection (tissue factor and fgl2).

Professor

Ren-Ke Li’s research focuses on translational research to apply new insights discovered through basic science research to clinical applications for heart regeneration and repair after myocardial infarction. Research areas are: 1) Cell transplantation into damaged tissue to regenerate myocardium and restore heart function. 2) Tissue engineering to create a muscle graft using stem cells and biomaterials for repair of cardiac defects.

Professor

Complement-based kidney diseases and the translational aspects involved through clinical and basic reseach    

Assistant Professor

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.    

Assistant Professor

My current interest is in microbiology of foodborne pathogens. Particularly, I focus on Listeria to investigate the mechanisms activated by Listeria monocytogenes to sense the transit between different environments (saprophyte versus invasive).

Furthermore I am implicated in projects to improve microorganisms detection and typing by molecular methods as part of an outbreak response.

Professor

I have a research program in the field of cellular and molecular regulation of endothelial gene expression. The lab is focused on understanding the contribution of endothelial cells to human health and disease. We are especially motivated towards understanding the contribution of important endothelial genes to disease processes and novel aspects of how endothelial genes are regulated.

Assistant Professor

My research is focused on using high throughput genomic technologies, including microarrays and sequencing, for gene discovery and diagnostics in neurodevelopmental disorders.  

Assistant Professor
Professor

My research interests include clinical development, evaluation, and utility of viral diagnostic testing as well as rapid diagnostic testing.  I am also involved in research related to the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in the community particularly as it relates to organisms associated with infections of the respiratory tract and urinary tract.         

Professor

Dr. McCulloch has defined critical signaling systems that regulate periodontal and cardiac connective tissues. The ultimate goal of his research is to define new therapies for periodontal and cardiovascular disorders. Since 2006, Dr. McCulloch has trained >50 undergraduate and graduate students, and generated over 70 peer-reviewed publications, has two patent applications and has won several major scientific awards.

Karim Mekhail
Associate Professor

The ultimate goal of our research group is to chart molecular networks dictating the non-random distribution of DNA in the nucleus and understand how this order maintains genome stability and human health.

Associate Professor

We study how the NLRP1 inflammasome detects the metabolic stress that is caused by infections.  We are also investigating the entry mechanism of anthrax toxin.

Assistant Professor

The overall research goal of the lab is to reduce the burden of disease caused by viral inflammation in the lung with a focus on Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).   The lab has expertise in airway epithelial cell biology and uses airway cell model systems to study a few lung diseases, most notably Cystic Fibrosis.    

Assistant Professor

Blood-borne dissemination of pathogens is responsible for most of the mortality associated with bacterial infections, but dissemination mechanisms remain largely uncharacterized. We investigate the dissemination mechanisms of invasive bacteria (especially the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi), in an effort to develop alternative therapeutic approaches for treating bacterial infection.

Associate Professor
Assistant Professor

My research focuses on identification of genomic copy number variants associated with developmental disorders and development of new tests to improve diagnosis of the genetic disorders. I am also interested in implementing new genomic technologies in the clinical setting. In our laboratory, we use high density microarray and other cytogenomic and molecular tests for prenatal and perinatal diagnosis.

Assistant Professor

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. 

Professor

Molecular mechanisms of cancer: understanding the role of tumour suppressors and oncoproteins in cancer biology

Professor

We study the role of calreticulin, a ubiquitous calcium-binding chaperone of the ER/SR, which affects calcium homeostasis and gene expression, in ES cell choice of fate.  We discovered that calreticulin acts as a switch either promoting (bone) or suppressing (fat) stem cell differentiation, while it seems to deregulate cardiogenesis. 

Professor

His interests include studies on T cell immunoregulation in HIV and HCV infection, molecular adjuvants for vaccination, pDC-virus interactions, and the role of endogenous retroviruses in HIV infection. 

Assistant Professor

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.

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Physician practice patterns in transfusion medicine, transfusion support of hemoglobinopathies, safety and efficacy of blood components and fractionated plasma products, transfusion practice in rural and underserviced communities. 

Associate Professor

Dr. Petrich's areas of research interest include using nucleic acid amplification technology for detection of respiratory pathogens in clinical specimens from patients with respiratory disease. Other interests include optimization of molecular diagnostics for use in the clinical microbiology laboratory and evaluation of their impact on patient care. 

Professor

                                                   

Professor

The overarching goal of my research program is to understand the key biological and physiological mechanisms that direct lung development and the impact of preterm birth on this process. The long-term objective is to develop new therapeutic strategies, including lung regeneration, and to improve preventive treatments for very premature infants.

Associate Professor

Dr. Poutanen is a clinician-investigator interested in applied research as it relates to the contemporary field of medical microbiology and infectious diseases.

Professor

Dr. Richardson has an active research program, primarily in the areas of invasive fungal infections, the laboratory diagnosis of viral respiratory infections and investigations into diagnostic modalities for infectious diseases in children, especially utilizing molecular methods.

Professor

The focus of our research is to study the cause(s) and cure(s ) of  Amyotrophic Lateral Scelrosis.

Adjunct Professor
Associate Professor

Our work contributes to two strands of investigations at the interface of proteomics and neurodegenerative disease research: the development of strategies for the study of protein interactions and the application of these strategies to address questions in the context of neurodegenerative disease research.

Assistant Professor

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.

Professor

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.

Philip Sherman
Professor

Our research activities focus on discovering novel methods to prevent and treat intestinal injury in humans and enhance the quality-of-life and health of Canadians. 

Gino Somers
Associate Professor

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.

Professor
Assistant Professor
Professor

Metallic elements play essential roles in normal cell function as enzyme cofactors, redox sensors, and structural elements.  They also include some of the most potent toxic substances in our environment.  We study the cell biology and toxicology of metals, with a current focus on iron and cadmium.

Professor

Pediatric pathology, pediatric renal disease, pediatric tumours 

Associate Professor
Professor
Professor

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.

Assistant Professor

Our research focuses on utilizing and developing tissue engineering approaches to address cardiovascular problems

Assistant Professor
Professor

Research interests currently are in:  1) the role of chloride channels in the cell membrane of cardiac muscle cells in cell volume regulation and the pathophysiology of myocardaial ischemia/reperfusion with a focus on therapeutic potential of these channels; 2) preclinical evaluation of drug eluting coronary artery stents and catheter based radiofrequency renal sympathetic nerve ablation for hypertension treatment.

Professor

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.     

Assistant Professor

Research revolves around studying the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens in the cystic fibrosis population, as well as optimizing the diagnosis of paediatric infectious diseases.

Professor

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.  

Professor
Eldad Zacksenhaus
Professor

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.  

Professor

Our research is focused on developing novel immunotherapies for treating cancers, graft-vs.-host disease and transplant rejection, and understands the underlying molecular mechanisms.