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.

Members

Faculty/Leaders

Staff

Niki Boyd

Research Projects Leader

Yu Ting (Shary) Chen

Research Assistant / Tech

Derek Chiu

Statistical Analyst

Dawn Cochrane

Staff Scientist

Amal El-Naggar

Research Associate

Julie Ho

Project / Lab Manager

Germain Ho

Research Assistant/Technician

Stephanie Lam

Clinical Research Assistant

Samuel Leung

Data & Bioinformatic Manager

Amy Lum

Research Assistant/Technician

Maria Salamanca

Research Assistant/Technician

Janine Senz

Research Assistant/Technician

Cindy Shen

Research Assistant / Technician

Genny Trigo-Gonzalez

Research Assistant/Tech

Shanzhao Wang

Data Coordinator Analyst

Yemin Wang

Staff Scientist

Hao Wen (Winnie) Yang

Research Assistant/Technician

Post-Docs

Jutta Huvila

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Tayyebeh Nazeran

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Emily Thompson

Post-doctoral Fellow

Students/Trainees

Naila Adam

Graduate Student

Minh Bui

Co-op Student

Maya DeGrood

Graduate Student

Katherine Dixon

Graduate Student

Evan Gibbard

Graduate Student

Kendall Greening

Graduate Student

Jennifer Ji

Graduate Student Medical MD/PhD

Fourouh Kalantari

Graduate Student

Eunice Li

Co-op Student

Jennifer Oncu

Co-op Student

Dionzie Ong

Co-op Student

Jessica Pilsworth

Graduate student

ChaeYoung Shin

Graduate Student

Terry Stubbs

Co-op Student

Aeisha Tariq

Co-op Student

Joyce Zhang

Graduate Student

Open Positions

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.

Qualifications

- 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.

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

Projects

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.

Sponsors

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