Dr. Graham Dellaire

Dr. Graham Dellaire

Dr. Graham Dellaire


Dr. Graham Dellaire, Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Pathology at Dalhousie University, is an internationally known cancer cell biologist, microscopist, and expert in DNA repair and CRISPR gene-editing.  He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Chromosome Research, and is the co-editor and author of two books, "The Functional Nucleus" and "Cancer Genomics: From Bench to Personalized Medicine".  To date his laboratory has published more than 80 research papers and has received over $4 million in research funding to study DNA repair and mechanisms of cancer development and chemotherapy resistance from agencies including: CIHR, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Prostate Cancer Canada, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Fighting Cancer on All Fronts:

“Even with early diagnosis and treatment, one third of breast cancer patients will have a relapse within five years. Unfortunately, when it comes back, the cancer is usually resistant to chemotherapy,” says Dr. Dellaire, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor and whose paternal grandmother died from the disease. “Chemotherapy resistance is a serious challenge I take personally.”

Dr. Dellaire and his research team aim to:

  • Identify biomarkers that could help personalize chemotherapy and detect cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages using next-generation RNA-sequencing and quantitative proteomic approaches
  • Use cutting-edge CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and super-resolution imaging to study cancer development
  • Look for ways to exploit the genetic changes in DNA repair and innate-immune pathways in cancer cells as a means of personalized therapy
  • Determine mechanisms of tumour immunity, chemotherapy resistance and metastasis in breast, lung, ovarian and prostate cancer using a mouse models (in collaboration with Dr. Brent Johnston, Dalhousie University) and a novel zebrafish xenotransplantation animal model developed in collaboration with Dr. Jason Berman (IWK Health Centre); with the ultimate goal of developing immune and chemotherapy strategies to target metastatic and relapsed cancers.

Bringing cancer biology into sharper focus:

Dr. Dellaire and his team employ live-cell super-resolution microscopy to image cellular events in cancer cells at high resolution. To achieve this, Dr. Dellaire uses a custom-built microscope that has been upgraded for Super-Resolution Radial Fluctuation (SRRF) microscopy, made possible in part by a DMRF equipment grant awarded in 2018.  SRRF allows, for the first-time high-speed live-cell super-resolution imaging on conventional spinning-disk microscope via state-of-the-art software developed by collaborator Dr. Ricardo Henriques (University College London, UK). “The DMRF support, including generous donations that supported the initial purchase of our spinning-disk microscope, have been essential in allowing us to take part in this revolution in microscopy that will create new insights into how cancers grow and develop.”, says Dr. Dellaire.

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