Mechanistic Drivers of Plasticity in Cancer

Associate Professor Lynne-Marie Postovit, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

In order to grow, spread and evade therapies, cancer cells must be able to adapt to a variety of cellular stresses. This adaptation manifests as plasticity, concomitant with the emergence of stem cell-associated phenotypes. In this talk, I will discuss how cells adapt to stress by altering the translation of stem cell associated transcripts. I will also discuss how mutations to epigenomic modifiers may enable this plasticity.

Associate Professor Lynne-Marie Postovit is the Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Translational Chair in Cancer, the Sawin-Baldwin Chair in Ovarian Cancer and the Dr. Anthony Noujaim Legacy Oncology Chair as well as an associate professor in the Department of Oncology at the University of Alberta and an adjunct professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Western University.  She is also a co-director of the Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta. Lynne has published over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the area of the cellular microenvironment, and her work has produced 3 patents; one of which progressed into clinical trials for the treatment of prostate cancer and has led to the development of a start-up company.  In 2009, Dr. Postovit received the Peter Lougheed/CIHR New Investigator Award, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR's) most important career development award, given annually to Canada's brightest young researcher at the beginning of their career. In 2012 she was named “a scientist to watch” by the Scientist magazine, in 2015 she was named the Researcher of the Month by Canadians for Health Research and in 2016 she was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada.  Lynne studies the microenvironmental regulation of cell phenotype in cancer and stem cells.   She is particularly interested measuring and targeting stem cell promoting proteins in the cancer microenvironment.