Interdisciplinary Oncology Program

Faculty of Medicine

100-570 West 7th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 4S6

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Dr. David Schaeffer

Dr. Schaeffer is an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at University of British Columbia and the Head of the Division of Anatomic Pathology at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) where he practices as a gastrointestinal pathologist. Dr. Schaeffer obtained his medical degree from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. After a residency program in Anatomical Pathology in Vancouver he completed his gastrointestinal pathology fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Schaeffer is a co-director of Pancreas Centre BC and also heads the Gastrointestinal Biobank (GIBB) at VGH. He has an active research program focusing predominately on translational research in colonic and pancreatic cancer.

Lab website: http://www.vchri.ca/researchers/david-schaeffer#results

Email: David.Schaeffer@vch.caa

Dr. Poul Sorensen

Dr. Poul Sorensen is a molecular pathologist specializing in the genetics and biology of pediatric cancers. Dr. Sorensen holds the Johal Endowed Chair in Childhood Cancer Research at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and is a UBC Professor of Pathology and a Distinguished Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency. Dr. Sorensen’s laboratory, located at the BC Cancer Research Centre, focuses on using both genetic and biochemical approaches to identify deregulated signaling cascades in childhood cancer cells. His group has discovered many novel genetic alterations in childhood cancer, including the EWS-ERG gene fusion in Ewing sarcoma and the ETV6-NTRK3 chimeric tyrosine kinase in congenital fibrosarcoma and secretory breast carcinoma. Dr. Sorensen’s recent work has focused on pathways involved in the tumor stress response. Tumor cells are continually exposed to diverse stress forms including nutrient deprivation, hypoxia, endoplasmic reticulum, oxidative, or genotoxic stress, or toxic drug or radiation exposure during patient therapy. Each stress form is potentially lethal unless tumor cells can acutely adapt to it. Dr. Sorensen’s group is focused on how stress adaptation occurs through acute changes in mRNA translation, including the molecular switches that allow tumor cells to reprogram their mRNA translatomes under stress, and how these mechanisms can be therapeutically targeted.

Lab website: http://molonc.bccrc.ca/sorensen-lab/

Email: psor@interchange.ubc.ca

Dr. Andrew Weng

My research program focuses on the pathogenesis of lymphoid malignancy and entails two major arms. First, we have explored the role of NOTCH1 and other oncogenes/tumor suppressors in the genesis and propagation of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) including studies on downstream target genes/pathways and identifying mechanisms operative in leukemia stem cells. We have addressed these questions in cells from different developmental stages and tissue contexts on the hypothesis that preset epigenetic programs may restrict the oncogenic trajectories available to the cells as they undergo the initial stages of transformation and clonal establishment. Many of our findings have direct clinical relevance in that they serve as basis for the development of rational therapies that target disease-specific phenotypes.

As a second and more recent focus, my lab has explored the use of state-of-the-art mass cytometry (CyTOF) to obtain highly resolved phenotypic maps of heterogeneous cell populations in present in patient lymphoma biopsy samples including both malignant and reactive immune cell compartments. We have used this methodology to characterize intratumoral heterogeneity/subclonal diversity among malignant cell populations and stereotyped or patient-specific immune responses. This work is also of direct clinical relevance in providing detailed phenotypic characterizations that are required in order to define biomarkers for lymphoma classification and prognosis, and monitoring of patient-specific responses to therapy.

Lab website: http://www.terryfoxlab.ca/people-detail/andrew-p-weng/

Email:  aweng@bccrc.ca

Dr. Amina Zoubeidi

Dr Zoubeidi research program is aimed at uncovering mechanisms of CRPC with a special focus on the resistance to modern anti-androgen therapy. In particular, a subset of patients who relapse following ARPI therapy exhibit lineage switching whereby tumours shed their dependence on AR signaling and emerge with neuroendocrine features. These tumours, termed treatment induced neuroendocrine prostate cancer (t-NEPC), carry an extremely poor prognosis and, to date, treatment remains decades old cytotoxic chemotherapy which carries a short-lived response at the cost of significant toxicity. Thus, the need to develop targeted treatments for this devastating disease is of paramount importance. She published have 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts in Cancer Discovery, Nature communication, Cell Report, Cancer Research and others. She is a Michael Smith Scholar and was awarded the prestigious PCF Young Investigator Award in 2010 and since then have received substantial funding awards from national and international funding agencies as a principal investigator or co-investigator that together total over $14 million. Her track record of research excellence is underscored by numerous accolades from the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Urological Association, the Northwest Urological Society and others. She had the honor of being invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences on molecular mechanisms and drug targets of PCa, including AACR and CCRC and as a visiting professor at different Universities. She serves on several grant panel review committees including NIH, CIHR, PCa Canada, Prostate Cancer Foundation USA and others. She is a member of the editorial board of Endocrine Related Cancer and ad hoc reviewer for numerous journals including EMBO, Oncogene, the AACR journals to name a few. In recognition of her meritorious achievements, she was awarded the UBC Faculty of Medicine Distinguished Achievement Award for overall early career excellence, her trainees hold award from DOD, CIHR, PCF, PCC and others agencies.

Lab website: http://www.prostatecentre.com/about-us/people/dr-amina-zoubeidi

Email: azoubeidi@prostatecentre.com

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