Principal Investigators of The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research

Dr. Hal Berman


berman.jpgDr. Berman is a clinical breast pathologist and has both clinical and research interests in breast cancer. Dr. Berman’s research focuses on identifying early events in breast carcinogenesis toward the goal of risk assessment and prevention of the disease. Dr. Berman did his clinical and postdoctoral training in the Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco.  His postdoctoral studies identified how signaling pathways, that are unique to a sub-type of breast cancer (termed basal-like breast cancer), can help predict risk for future tumour formation in women with pre-malignant breast disease (i.e., ductal carcinoma in situ).   He also previously served as the Director for the UCSF National Breast Tissue and Cell Bank.

Dr. Norman Boyd
Senior Scientist

Boyd.jpgDr. Boyd's research focuses on developing breast cancer prevention strategies. He has pioneered research in the new area of breast density and was the first to identify it as a major risk factor for breast cancer that can be inherited. He is a graduate of Guy's Hospital Medical School, University of London and studied clinical epidemiology at Yale University. He is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. In 1999, Dr. Boyd obtained a Distinguished Scientist Award from the Medical Research Council of Canada.

Dr. Susan Done
Breast Pathologist

done.jpgDr. Done is a breast pathologist and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. She went to medical school at Cambridge University, did pathology residency training in Calgary and then her PhD in the molecular pathology of breast cancer development in Toronto.  In 2001 she received the Junior Scientist Award from the Canadian Association of Pathologists. 

Her research focuses on molecular alterations in the development and progression of breast cancer with the goal of identifying new prognostic markers and future therapeutic targets. 

Dr. Mona Gauthier


gauthier.jpgDr. Gauthier’s research focuses on understanding early events that occur in familial breast and ovarian cancers.  Using normal breast and ovarian cells donated from healthy volunteers and women who carry high risk mutations, she is studying how mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes lead to increased risk of tumour formation. Her goal is to identify biomarkers for risk assessment and cancer prevention in this high risk population. Dr. Gauthier received her PhD from the University of Toronto and completed her post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Naoto Hirano
Associate Director of Research, Immune Therapy Program

Hirano.jpgDr. Hirano’s research focuses on the development of therapies that utilize the human immune system to fight cancerous tumours.  As a translational researcher, he has always conducted his scientific inquiries with an eye toward translation to the clinic.

Dr. Hirano attended medical and graduate school at the University of Tokyo, receiving both an MD and PhD.  He completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the University of Tokyo Hospital.  Following his postdoctoral training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, he was promoted to Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 2008. 

He has received several awards for his research including the American Society of Hematology Scholar Award and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research Investigator Award.

Dr. Wey Leong

Leong.jpgDr. Leong is a surgical oncologist with research interests in gene profiling of breast cancer and the evaluation of new surgical techniques such as sentinel node biopsy, mammary ductoscopy, radioactive seed location, and intra-operative radiotherapy.  He is the principal investigator of a Genome Canada-funded study that is recruiting 1000 breast cancer patients in order to validate a number of breast cancer gene signatures. Understanding the different gene signatures of breast cancer patients will lead to more personalized and effective treatments.

Dr. Leong completed his medical training at Dalhousie Medical School in 1994, and acquired a masters degree in molecular pathology while doing his general surgical residency.

Dr. Lisa Martin


martin.jpgDr. Martin’s research program focuses on breast cancer causes, prevention and prognosis, and involves human epidemiological studies of diet, lifestyle, genetic and molecular factors. A substantial part of her research seeks to understand the etiology of mammographic density, one of the strongest known risk factors for breast cancer. Dr. Martin obtained her PhD in Medical Science from the University of Toronto in 2005 under the supervision of Dr. Norman Boyd.  She was the recipient of the Canadian Institute for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship, and, in 2004, she was named the AACR-GlaxoSmithKline Outstanding Clinical Scholar. In 2010, she was awarded a five-year New Investigators Award from the Canadian Institute for Health Research.

Dr. Senthil Muthuswamy
Senior Scientist

Muthaswamy.jpgThe long-term goal for Dr. Muthuswamy’s laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate development and progression of precancers.  If pre-cancerous lesions can be treated and controlled so they never progress to form malignant cancers, the health of patients can be managed in ways that spare them from drugs and treatment that is hard on their bodies, sometimes with toxic side effects.  A deeper understanding of the oncogenes that disrupt cell and tissue architecture will identify new targets for controlling these early pre-cancerous lesions.

Dr. Muthuswamy received his PhD at McMaster University and he currently holds the Lee K. and Margaret Lau Chair in Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Dr. Hitoshi Okada

okada.jpgDr. Okada's research focuses on understanding how cancer cells escape and overcome intrinsic selection pressures in tumour development, including the development of breast cancer, using genetic and biochemical approaches. His goal is to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the complex oncogenic signaling networks and to find ways to target cancer cells.

He completed his medical training in surgical oncology and doctoral studies at Tohoku University in Japan. Dr. Okada has a long-standing interest in the molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis in human cancer, which stems from his work at The Cancer Institute of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research (JFCR), Columbia University (NY, USA) and Ontario Cancer Institute.

Dr. Michael Reedijk

reekjik.jpgDr. Reedijk is a surgical oncologist with both clinical and research interests in breast cancer.  He completed his doctoral and medical studies at the University of Toronto. His research examines the role of Notch family signaling molecules in human breast cancer. Dr. Reedijk’s findings indicate that the Notch gene is abnormally expressed in a significant proportion of breast cancers and that this correlates with poor outcome in patients.  Current efforts in his laboratory are focused on determining whether Notch signaling genes can serve as therapeutic targets in breast cancer. 

Dr. Reedijk has received several awards for his research including the James Ewing Oncology Fellowship Award for Basic Research and the Society of University Surgeons Junior Faculty Grant Award.

Dr. Kala Sridhar
Medical Oncologist

sridhar.jpgDr. Sridhar’s research focuses on developing and testing new therapeutics in cancers of the breast and genitourinary (the organ system of all the reproductive organs and the urinary system). She is currently study chair and principal investigator on two U.S. National Cancer Institute-sponsored phase 2 clinical trials, and co-investigator on several others testing new targeted therapies.

She joined the CFIBCR in October 2006.  She graduated from the University of Ottawa Medical School, where she also earned a masters in biochemistry studying genetic regulation of apoptosis. She finished her medical oncology training at the University of Toronto and then completed a drug development Fellowship through the Bras Family Drug Development Program.

View our Report on Women’s Cancers 

Dr. Tak Mak
Co-Director, The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research

tak.jpgBorn in southern China in 1946 and raised in Hong Kong, Tak Wah Mak studied biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Wisconsin. In 1972, he earned his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Alberta, Edmonton. After he obtained his degree, Dr. Mak became a Canadian citizen.

Following his postdoctoral fellowship at the Ontario Cancer Institute, the research arm of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Dr. Mak became a faculty member and later a full professor at the University of Toronto's Departments of Medical Biophysics and Immunology. He was named a University Professor at the University of Toronto in 1997, an honour reserved for one percent of the University faculty at any given time.

Dr. Mak changed the world of science and research in 1984 when he published a landmark scientific paper on the cloning of the T-cell receptor genes, a key component of the human immune system. Since that time, Dr. Mak's paper has been cited nearly 1,200 times in other scientific studies, making him the third most cited scientist in the world. Dr. Mak's role in advancing the use of genetically altered mice in scientific study has led to important breakthroughs in immunology and understanding cancer at the cellular level. The basic research in breast cancer conducted by Dr. Mak has been published in top international scientific journals and he has given several keynote addresses at breast cancer symposiums across Canada and the United States.

In 1993, Dr. Mak assisted in establishing the AMGEN Research Institute in Toronto. His lab has produced numerous important studies, which have been cited more than 40,000 times by other scientists, both nationally and internationally. The number of citations is by far the highest rate in Canada to date.

In 2004, with an estimated 21,400 new cases of breast cancer expected to be diagnosed in Canada, Dr. Mak decided to focus his research on this disease, which kills 5,300 Canadians annually. He became Director of the new Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital and began recruiting to establish this comprehensive Institute as a world leader in breast cancer research.

Dr. Mak holds Honorary Doctoral Degrees from numerous universities in North America and Europe. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Order of Ontario, and he has been elected a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (UK). He has won international recognition in the forms of the Emil von Behring Prize, the King Faisal Prize for Medicine, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Sloan Prize of the General Motors Cancer Foundation, the Paul Ehrlich Prize and the Novartis Prize in Immunology.

Dr. Pamela Sumiko Ohashi
Co-Director of The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research

pam.jpgDr. Ohashi is amongst the top international leaders in the intricate field of immune tolerance.  She has spent her career understanding the different tricks that the body has devised so that the T-cells of the immune system generally do not attack our own bodies.  She has also studied the different signals that tell these T-cells to attack the germs such as bacteria and viruses that infect our body.  One of the main goals of her research is to develop ways to manipulate the immune system to attack and destroy tumour cells. 

Dr. Ohashi, who trained under Nobel Laureate Rolf Zinkernagel, is a highly recognized scientist who has received several awards for her work in research, including the Pharmingen Investigator Award from the American Association of Immunology and a Canada Research Chair.  She is an associate editor for several international journals and has organized top international meetings.

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