If you are interested in how cell context, mutation and microenvironment interact to produce the distinct cancers seen in the uterus, fallopian tube and ovary, please contact us. 

The Huntsman lab aims to develop improved diagnostics, biologically informed prevention and cell context specific treatment strategies for ovarian cancers.  Dr. Huntsman is the scientific director of OvCaRe, BC’s multidisciplinary ovarian cancer research team.  His research has led to development of predictive and prognostic tissue based cancer biomarkers for ovarian cancer and a wide variety of other tumour types. They created a blueprint for subtype specific ovarian cancer control and have been leaders in the application of novel genomics technologies to ovarian cancer. Although Huntsman’s realm still uses proteomics and other genomic techniques to better understand ovarian and rare cancers, much of his research is focused on the question of how cell context, mutation and microenvironment interact to produce the absolutely distinct cancers seen in the uterus, fallopian tube and ovary.  To accomplish this, his team are using organoids derived from normal fallopian tube, endometrium and ovarian surface epithelium and uses single cell genomic techniques to determine the impact of the mutations found in these cancers. In the future they will use co-culture techniques and in-vivo systems to determine the impact of paracrine interactions with endometrial, fallopian tube, ovarian and other stroma.    

As collaboration is critical in his field, Dr. Huntsman happily leads and engages in a wide number of multidisciplinary research groups

The lab has on-site locations at the BC Cancer Research Centre, the Robert H.N. Ho Building and the Jack Bell Research Centre.

An overview of BC’s gynecologic cancer research program, OVCARE, can be found here.




Amal El-Naggar

Research Associate

Maria Salamanca

Research Assistant/Technician


Jutta Huvila

Post-Doctoral Fellow


Naila Adam

Graduate Student

Maya DeGrood

Graduate Student

Fourouh Kalantari

Graduate Student

ChaeYoung Shin

Graduate Student

Open Positions

Research Programmer

Job Information

Classification Title: Information Systems & Technology (A)

Business Title: Research Programmer

Department: Pathology

Job Summary

A position with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of the University of British Columbia is open immediately for a research programmer to work with our interdisciplinary team of researchers and software developers within the Department of Molecular Oncology at BC Cancer, part of the Provincial Health Services Authority. We are seeking a creative, experienced, and dedicated individual to play a key role in the bioinformatics analysis of computational genomic research data.

The research programmer will work with other team members and researchers in the department to conduct computational analysis, ranging from routine runs to novel discovery tasks.  With detailed instructions, you will be finding and applying bioinformatics algorithms to computational genomics problems.  When appropriate, your solutions will be deployed in full production processes, and you will work closely with other programmers to ensure the successful implementation and  deployment of automated workflows and analyses.

You will be on-site in the Department of Molecular Oncology at BC Cancer, working closely with software developers, students and researchers operating at the leading edge of the field of cancer genomics.  Our department has recently made meaningful advances in the understanding of tumour evolution and the software platforms developed in the lab will be used by world-leading scientists at BC Cancer and international collaborators to gain insight into how cancers initiate, develop and acquire resistance to treatment. More information on the department and research we conduct can be found here http://molonc.bccrc.ca/

Organizational Status

We are a small team of software developers and scientists embedded within a larger cancer research department.  You will be working with students and researchers to tackle genomics problems, and collaborating with developers and bioinformaticians on the team to develop high-throughput and automated analysis solutions.  You will be reporting to the bioinformatics team lead or designate.

Work Performed

Research and implement bioinformatics solution as requested

Perform simple to complex bioinformatics analysis and requests with supervision

As a team member, develop, test and automate bioinformatics solutions

Handle bioinformatics data retrieval, processing and dissemination requests

Assist researchers in computational, statistical and visualization tasks for publication

Consequences of Error

You will be receiving instructions from researchers, students and collaborators and will be responsible for the correctness of your work.  Failure to perform may result in setbacks to research and operational activity.

Supervision Received

You will be supervised by the bioinformatics team lead or designate.

Supervision Given

You will help advise and recommend best course of actions to other members of the lab on subjects pertaining to bioinformatics analysis and your field of expertise.

Education / Work Experience


BSc in bioinformatics, computer science, or equivalent

Minimum 2 year of additional relevant work/educational experience in genomics

Proven bioinformatics research experience

Experience with data analysis in R and Python

Experience with command-line interfaces and scripting in UNIX operating systems

Experience designing and creating analysis workflows and pipelines

Experience with next-generation sequencing (NGS) data


MSc in bioinformatics, computer science or equivalent

Experience with scientific high performance computing environments

Experience with bioinformatics data management solutions

Post-Doctoral Fellow (Bioinformatics)

Exciting postdoctoral training opportunity with the OVCARE Program at the University of British Columbia and the Department of Molecular Oncology at BC Cancer, studying the cellular origins of ovarian and other gynecological cancers through single cell sequencing technologies. The Department of Pathology at the University of British Columbia invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow. The successful applicant will work with Dr. Andrew Roth and Dr. David Huntsman as a part of the multidisciplinary OVCARE team (BC's Gynecological Cancer Research Program, ovcare.ca) and bioinformatics team of the BC Cancer’s Department of Molecular Oncology (http://molonc.bccrc.ca). 

We are studying the early events in ovarian cancer initiation by genetically manipulating organoids derived from normal tissues and transgenic mice. Our interest lies in dissecting the relative contributions of and interactions between cell of origin, mutation and microenvironment on the development of the common cancers of the uterus , ovary and fallopian tube. For this particular project, ARID1A (a member of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex) is knocked out and mutant PIK3CA (a kinase involved in intracellular signaling) is introduced into the cells. Organoids are grown out from cells containing these genetic manipulations and single cell RNAseq, DNAseq and ATACseq will be performed. The successful candidate will integrate these datasets, as well as co-supervise students assigned to analyze other single cell sequencing datasets. We are looking for someone who has strong communication and leadership skills and who will work well in a group setting.


- PhD in Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Statistics or related fields.

- Experience working with large genomic datasets.

- Experience managing data from multiple sources and running bioinformatics pipelines.

- Experience working with single cell RNA-Seq and/or single cell DNA-Seq.

- Strong background in data science, machine learning preferred.

- Programming skills in R and/or Python required.

The position will commence as soon as possible. The initial appointment will be for a one-year term, with potential for annual renewal. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Post-doctoral Fellow – SWI/SNF Chromatic Remodeling Complexes and Cancer Progression

Postdoctoral Research Fellow – SWI/SNF Chromatic Remodeling Complexes and Cancer Progression

BC’s Gynecological Cancer Research Program (OVCARE)
Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Exciting postdoctoral training opportunity studying targeted therapies for ovarian and other gynecological cancers with the OVCARE Program at the University of British Columbia and BC Cancer.

The Department of Pathology at the University of British Columbia invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow. The successful applicant will work with the multidisciplinary OVCARE team (BC’s Gynecological Cancer Research Program) directed by Dr. David Huntsman. This position will be translational and interdisciplinary in nature aimed at deciphering the role of cancer-associated mutations, especially those related to the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes, in tumourigenesis and their potential as druggable targets.

Applicants should have a PhD or MD/PhD with a strong background and publication record in a relevant field (e.g. genetics, cellular and molecular biology). The position will rely heavily on in vitro and in vivo models of cancer so demonstrated expertise in this area is required. In addition, either experience in bioinformatics would be an asset. The position will commence as soon as possible. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required. The initial appointment will be for a one-year term, with potential for annual renewal. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Qualified candidates should send (by email) a statement of research interest, curriculum vitae and contact details for 3 referees to:

Yemin Wang, PhD
BC’s Gynecological Cancer Research Program
University of British Columbia and BC Cancer

675 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3
Email: yewang@bccrc.ca

Selected Publications

Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors Synergize with Catalytic Inhibitors of EZH2 to Exhibit Antitumor Activity in Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary, Hypercalcemic Type.

Molecular cancer therapeutics, 2018
Wang, Yemin, Chen, Shary Yuting, Colborne, Shane, Lambert, Galen, Shin, Chae Young, Santos, Nancy Dos, Orlando, Krystal A, Lang, Jessica D, Hendricks, William P D, Bally, Marcel B, Karnezis, Anthony N, Hass, Ralf, Underhill, T Michael, Morin, Gregg B, Trent, Jeffrey M, Weissman, Bernard E, Huntsman, David G

Molecularly Defined Adult Granulosa Cell Tumor of the Ovary: The Clinical Phenotype.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2016
McConechy, Melissa K, Färkkilä, Anniina, Horlings, Hugo M, Talhouk, Aline, Unkila-Kallio, Leila, van Meurs, Hannah S, Yang, Winnie, Rozenberg, Nirit, Andersson, Noora, Zaby, Katharina, Bryk, Saara, Bützow, Ralf, Halfwerk, Johannes B G, Hooijer, Gerrit K J, van de Vijver, Marc J, Buist, Marrije R, Kenter, Gemma G, Brucker, Sara Y, Krämer, Bernhard, Staebler, Annette, Bleeker, Maaike C G, Heikinheimo, Markku, Kommoss, Stefan, Blake Gilks, C, Anttonen, Mikko, Huntsman, David G

Small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type, displays frequent inactivating germline and somatic mutations in SMARCA4.

Nature genetics, 2014
Ramos, Pilar, Karnezis, Anthony N, Craig, David W, Sekulic, Aleksandar, Russell, Megan L, Hendricks, William P D, Corneveaux, Jason J, Barrett, Michael T, Shumansky, Karey, Yang, Yidong, Shah, Sohrab P, Prentice, Leah M, Marra, Marco A, Kiefer, Jeffrey, Zismann, Victoria L, McEachron, Troy A, Salhia, Bodour, Prat, Jaime, D'Angelo, Emanuela, Clarke, Blaise A, Pressey, Joseph G, Farley, John H, Anthony, Stephen P, Roden, Richard B S, Cunliffe, Heather E, Huntsman, David G, Trent, Jeffrey M

Recurrent somatic DICER1 mutations in nonepithelial ovarian cancers.

The New England journal of medicine, 2012
Heravi-Moussavi, Alireza, Anglesio, Michael S, Cheng, S-W Grace, Senz, Janine, Yang, Winnie, Prentice, Leah, Fejes, Anthony P, Chow, Christine, Tone, Alicia, Kalloger, Steve E, Hamel, Nancy, Roth, Andrew, Ha, Gavin, Wan, Adrian N C, Maines-Bandiera, Sarah, Salamanca, Clara, Pasini, Barbara, Clarke, Blaise A, Lee, Anna F, Lee, Cheng-Han, Zhao, Chengquan, Young, Robert H, Aparicio, Samuel A, Sorensen, Poul H B, Woo, Michelle M M, Boyd, Niki, Jones, Steven J M, Hirst, Martin, Marra, Marco A, Gilks, Blake, Shah, Sohrab P, Foulkes, William D, Morin, Gregg B, Huntsman, David G

ARID1A mutations in endometriosis-associated ovarian carcinomas.

The New England journal of medicine, 2010
Wiegand, Kimberly C, Shah, Sohrab P, Al-Agha, Osama M, Zhao, Yongjun, Tse, Kane, Zeng, Thomas, Senz, Janine, McConechy, Melissa K, Anglesio, Michael S, Kalloger, Steve E, Yang, Winnie, Heravi-Moussavi, Alireza, Giuliany, Ryan, Chow, Christine, Fee, John, Zayed, Abdalnasser, Prentice, Leah, Melnyk, Nataliya, Turashvili, Gulisa, Delaney, Allen D, Madore, Jason, Yip, Stephen, McPherson, Andrew W, Ha, Gavin, Bell, Lynda, Fereday, Sian, Tam, Angela, Galletta, Laura, Tonin, Patricia N, Provencher, Diane, Miller, Dianne, Jones, Steven J M, Moore, Richard A, Morin, Gregg B, Oloumi, Arusha, Boyd, Niki, Aparicio, Samuel A, Shih, Ie-Ming, Mes-Masson, Anne-Marie, Bowtell, David D, Hirst, Martin, Gilks, Blake, Marra, Marco A, Huntsman, David G

Mutation of FOXL2 in granulosa-cell tumors of the ovary.

The New England journal of medicine, 2009
Shah, Sohrab P, Köbel, Martin, Senz, Janine, Morin, Ryan D, Clarke, Blaise A, Wiegand, Kimberly C, Leung, Gillian, Zayed, Abdalnasser, Mehl, Erika, Kalloger, Steve E, Sun, Mark, Giuliany, Ryan, Yorida, Erika, Jones, Steven, Varhol, Richard, Swenerton, Kenneth D, Miller, Dianne, Clement, Philip B, Crane, Colleen, Madore, Jason, Provencher, Diane, Leung, Peter, DeFazio, Anna, Khattra, Jaswinder, Turashvili, Gulisa, Zhao, Yongjun, Zeng, Thomas, Glover, J N Mark, Vanderhyden, Barbara, Zhao, Chengquan, Parkinson, Christine A, Jimenez-Linan, Mercedes, Bowtell, David D L, Mes-Masson, Anne-Marie, Brenton, James D, Aparicio, Samuel A, Boyd, Niki, Hirst, Martin, Gilks, C Blake, Marra, Marco, Huntsman, David G


Oncogenic Significance of Subtype Specific Mutations

The clinical behaviour and potential management strategies for ovarian cancer subtypes are shaped by anatomic and biologic considerations, with the main determinants of biology being cell context and mutation. We are building on our key ovarian cancer mutation discoveries to investigate the basis of pathogenicity with the goal of using this information to improve treatment. Due to the histogenic specificity of the phenotypes, our lab is undertaking functional studies performed model systems derived from the appropriate cells of origin.

Biologically Informed Prevention Strategies for Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancers have historically suffered from generic treatment and prevention approaches that do not account for biologic and clinical differences between subtypes and research conducted without consideration of histotype, making interpretation of results and knowledge translation challenging. Using this subtype-specific approach, one of the key areas of my research program is to prevent disease by studying precursor lesions of ovarian cancer.

Improved Diagnostics for Ovarian and Other Rare Cancers

Accurate diagnosis forms the foundation of effective cancer care. A fundamental aspect of my research is to develop effective diagnostics to guide appropriate therapies for gynaecological cancers. We were one of the original advocates of studying and treating various histological subtypes of ovarian cancer as distinct diseases, both in research and clinically. Using this research, my laboratory discovered key mutations driving several ovarian cancers and rapidly translated these findings into clinical diagnostics.


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