Experimental Oncology

This Division performs laboratory-based research concerned with the basic mechanisms of cancer and the clinical applications of basic cancer research.

Twelve of our principal investigators, along with six associated members, work within the Cross Cancer Institute, and an additional four, along with three associated members are located in the Katz building on the main campus of the University of Alberta.

Academic Staff supervise graduate students and medical residents, and teach in the undergraduate M.D. program, in graduate level courses in Oncology, and in graduate and undergraduate courses in related disciplines (Immunology, Biochemistry, Physics, Experimental Hematology). There are currently 29 graduate students and 12 post-doctoral fellows in Experimental Oncology.

Graduate Program             Research Facilities 

Our principal investigators perform basic scientific research and translational (bench-to-bedside) research in molecular oncology, cellular oncology, radiobiology, chemotherapy and imaging. Their work involves a variety of academic disciplines, including cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, immunology, and pharmacology. Research interests include:

  • Molecular analysis of breast cancer, brain tumours, melanoma, pediatric cancers and blood cancers
  • Mechanisms underlying the repair of DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation and chemotherapeutic drugs
  • Cell adhesion, cell migration and metastatic spread
  • Epigenetics of cancer
  • Tumour suppressor genes
  • Tumour targeting viruses as cancer therapeutic agents
  • Computational biology approaches to drug discovery
  • Cell cycle regulation
  • Membrane transporters and their role in drug transport and resistance


Principal Investigators

Dr. Vickie Baracos vbaracos@ualberta.ca


Muscle atrophy in cancer associated cachexia

Dr. Kristi Baker kbaker2@ualberta.ca


Anti-tumor immunity; genetic instability; colorectal cancer

Dr. Gordon Chan gkc@ualberta.ca


Mitotic cell cycle checkpoint and cancer

Dr. YangXin Fu yangxin@ualberta.ca


Signaling pathways and gene regulation in ovarian cancer and therapeutics

Dr. Armin Gamper gamper@ualberta.ca


DNA damage response: radiation biology

Dr. Roseline Godbout rgodbout@ualberta.ca


Cancer as a developmental disease; retinoblastoma; brain tumors

Dr. Michael Hendzel mhendzel@ualberta.ca


Nuclear components; DNA damage response; chromatin-based epigenetic mechanisms

Dr. Mary Hitt mary.hitt@ualberta.ca


Oncolytic viruses; adenovirus replication; gene regulation; RNA interference; gene therapy


Dr. Ismail Ismail



Targeting the DNA damage response in B cell malignancies

Dr. Piyush Kumar pkumar@ualberta.ca


Development of Molecular Theranostic (Therapy+Diagnostic) Agents For Cancer Diseases

Dr. John Lewis jdlewis@ualberta.ca


Translational prostate cancer research; nanoparticles, novel therapeutics, in vivo imaging

Dr. David Murray dmurray@ualberta.ca


DNA repair in the response to anti-cancer agents; prediction of patient response to therapy

Dr. Manijeh Pasdar mpasdar@ualberta.ca


Molecular mechanisms of adhesion-mediated signaling during cell growth and oncogenesis

Dr. Lynne Postovit   (Adjunct Professor) postovit@ualberta.ca


Environmental control of normal and cancer stem cell plasticity

Dr. Wilson Roa wroa@ualberta.ca


Nono-carrier platforms for therapeutic applications; image guided radiotherapy

Dr. Michael Sawyer msawyer@ualberta.ca


Cell biology, cell signaling and cancer, drug transporters

Dr. Ralf Schirrmacher schirrma@ualberta.ca


Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry, development of PET imaging agents for neuro- and cancer imaging, medicinal chemistry and drug development

Dr. Jack Tuszynski   (Adjunct Professor) jackt@ualberta.ca


Computational biophysics; rational drug design; pharmacokinetics

Dr. Alan Underhill underhil@ualberta.ca


Transcription factors in melanoma; gene regulation & epigenetics

Dr. Michael Weinfeld mweinfel@ualberta.ca


Detection and repair of DNA damage

Dr. Frank Wuest wuest@ualberta.ca


Probe development for molecular imaging of cancer