Faculty

Dr. Deborah Anderson (Cancer Cluster Leader)
Director of Research and Senior Research Scientist, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
Adjunct Professor in Oncology and Biochemistry, University of Saskatchewan
Office: Room 4D30.2
(306) 966-7038
deborah.anderson@saskcancer.ca

The major focus of the Anderson lab is studying the role of the metastasis suppressor protein CREB3L1 in breast cancer progression. This transcription factor is frequency lost in advanced breast cancers, particularly of the triple negative subtype, and contributes to their metastatic properties. Dr. Anderson’s team is also working to understand how the regulation of the tumor suppressor protein, PTEN, a lipid phosphatase that counteracts cell survival and proliferative signals generated by PI3K, contributes to cancer. The PI3K/PTEN pathway is an important pathway frequently overactive in cancer cells.


Dr. Keith Bonham
Senior Research Scientist, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
Adjunct Professor in Oncology and Biochemistry, University of Saskatchewan
Office: Room 4D30.3
(306) 966-7041
keith.bonham@saskcancer.ca
Dr. Bonham's lab is interested in the regulation of gene expression, especially at the level of transcription, in cancer cells. His lab works on a number of model genes including SRC, MYC and FRK. He is particularly interested in epigenetics and the ability of certain drugs, such as Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors, to reprogram gene expression in cancer cells leading to cell death. Dr. Bonham has shown such drugs are capable of repressing the transcription of potent oncogenes such as SRC, MYC and others while simultaneously inducing regulators of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Most lately Dr. Bonham has been exploring other epigenetic mechanism such as differential methylation in the regulation of a potential tumour suppressor gene, FRK.
Dr. Erique Lukong
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Saskatchewan
Office: Room 4D30.5
(306) 966-4586
erique.lukong@usask.ca

Work in Dr. Lukong’s lab is centred on breast tumour kinase (BRK) and two other BRK family members, FRK and SRMS. BRK is overexpressed in the majority of breast carcinomas and tends to function as an oncogene, while FRK displays tumor suppressor activity in breast cancer. The cellular roles of SRMS are unknown. The Lukong lab is investigating the cellular and physiological roles, and the mechanisms of action and modes of regulation of all three kinases in breast cancer. The Lukong lab is also characterizing the diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic potential of BRK and FRK in breast cancer.


Silvana Papagerakis Dr. Silvana Papagerakis, M.D., M.S., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Saskatchewan
Director, Laboratory of Oral, Head & Neck Cancer – Personalized Diagnostics and Therapeutics
Office: Room 4D10.2
Phone: (306) 966-1960
silvana.papagerakis@usask.ca

Dr. Silvana Papagerakis is an established clinician-scientist in the field of oral, head and neck cancer with over 20 years of research success in basic, translational and clinical research within research intensive academic health settings. Her expertise encompasses qualitative and quantitative patient oriented research; cancer epidemiology, prevention and control; clinical trials; outcomes prediction; anti-cancer drug reformulation and personalized therapeutics; precision molecular medicine; chemical and viral (e.g. Human Papillomavirus) carcinogenesis; epigenetics; tumor heterogeneity, microenvironment and metabolism; in vivo an in vitro experimental models. She has collaborative inter-disciplinary projects in circadian disruption, dentistry and autoimmune diseases with a special interest in the cross talk between oral and systemic heath. Her work has received national and international research recognitions. Dr. Papagerakis relocated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, USA, where she maintains an adjunct faculty position in the Department of Otolaryngology. Dr. Papagerakis is accepting applications from residents, undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students. Please, submit your application via email to silvana.papagerakis@usask.ca


Dr. Rajendra Sharma
Distinguished Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Saskatchewan
Office: Room 4D30.4
(306) 966-7733
rajendra.sharma@usask.ca

I have had a long standing interest in the biochemical mechanisms of signal transduction processes, with special emphasis on Ca2+-calmodulin (CaM)-regulated enzymes and their involvement in the regulation of cAMP and Ca2+-second messengers systems. In addition, my interest in the role of spatial separation of regulatory activities during the process of signal transduction has led me to establish a role of N-myristoyltransferase in oncogenesis, and this has been proposed as a target for chemotherapeutic drug design.


Dr. Franco Vizeacoumar
Research Scientist, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
Adjunct Professor in Oncology and Pathology, University of Saskatchewan
Office: Room 4D01.5
(306) 966-7010
franco.vizeacoumar@usask.ca

A key message from the current genomic studies is that therapeutic approaches should aim at the genetic basis rather than the tissue of origin. This knowledge and the availability of highly selective inhibitors of gene products, promises personalized medicine through a genotype-directed cancer therapy. My lab is directly involved developing such a genotype-directed cancer therapy for solid tumors by applying a basic biological concept called synthetic lethality. In effect, any genetic alteration that can cause selective-lethality with an oncogenic or a tumor suppressor mutation can be potentially translated into a therapeutic target. Our long term goal is to build a synthetic lethal network that will enable us to understand the genetic dependencies of cancer cells and define key therapeutic targets.


Dr. Yuliang Wu
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Saskatchewan
Office: Room 4D01.1
(306) 966-4360
yuliang.wu@usask.ca

The laboratory of Dr. Wu aims to understand how protein changes can lead to breast cancer and Fanconi anemia, a genetic disease that often leads to leukemia and other types of cancer. Wu and his team are looking at the Fanconi anemia group J protein, which contributes to DNA repair. He has identified changes, or mutations, in the protein in cases of breast cancer or Fanconi anemia and is conducting further research to determine the potential structural defects. This knowledge is an important step toward possible therapies that target the mutated protein.


Dr. Jim Xiang
Senior Research Scientist, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
Adjunct Professor in Oncology and Pathology, University of Saskatchewan
Office: Room 4D30.1
(306) 966-7039
jim.xiang@saskcancer.ca

Dr. Xiang’s  lab is  interested  in  studying cellular  and  molecular  mechanisms  for  CD4  T cell help in CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses and memory and developing  novel exosome-targeted T cell-based immunotherapeutic  vaccines for HER2-positive breast cancer and HIV-1 patients.  Recently, Dr. Xiang’s group discovered the critical role of mannose-6-phosphate Receptor (M6PR) in regulation of T cell fate. Currently, his team is elucidating the molecular pathways for pro-survival cytokine-induced differential M6PR expression-regulated CTL contraction and memory.