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Liliana Attisano, PhD

Department of Biochemistry
Department of Medical Biophysics
Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research
University of Toronto

Where I Am From: Toronto

Where I Studied:
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center,
New York City
PDF in Cell Biology, 1990 to 1995

University of Toronto
PhD in Biochemistry, 1990

University of Toronto
BSc in Biochemistry, 1984


My Story:

When cells miscommunicate, it’s not unlike a game of Broken Telephone: messages get garbled; instructions are misunderstood. The consequence for humans, though, is no game. I work to understand disturbances in the signaling pathways of cells and how this miscommunication can lead to the breakdown of the human body. To get a better understanding of why a cell’s failure to perform can lead to disease, I am studying two types of signaling pathways: the Wnt family and the TGFß (transforming growth factor-beta) superfamily. Failure in the latter can lead to serious health issues including impaired wound healing, developmental disorders, neurodegenerative conditions and even cancer. Failure in the Wnt family can also lead to cancer.

If we can understand how the cells should communicate properly, we can work towards the discovery of new drugs to conquer a myriad of diseases, including cancer. I want to be able to either enhance these pathways of communication or suppress them, based on where my investigations take me, in order to fight disease.

Thanks to the collaborative nature of the Donnelly Centre, I am currently working with Quaid Morris’ lab to use computational tools to analyze our diverse and complex, experimentally generated, high-throughput data sets.

For more information on my work, please e-mail me at  liliana.attisano@utoronto.ca



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