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Dr Shoukat Dedhar
Robert L. Noble Prize recipient in 2013
Dr Shoukat Dedhar is a world-class researcher in the areas of cancer biology, cell adhesion mechanisms and signal transduction (cell communication). Early in his career, Dr Dedhar became the first to demonstrate that integrin, a protein that sits on the surface of cells and regulates how cells adhere (stick together), also transmits signals into cells using the Ras MAPK pathway. His continued interest in this area drove him to search for the elements surrounding integrins that are also involved in this signal transduction. This led to a major research finding: the discovery of Integrin Linked Kinase (ILK) which is now a major drug target for cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation.
The identification of ILK has dramatically accelerated scientific understanding of communication between integrins, the cell cytoskeleton and signalling elements. It remains one of the greatest advances in the field of integrin-mediated adhesion. The impact of this discovery can be seen in over 800 publications generated by the larger research community on ILK’s role in embryonic development, cardiac function, inflammatory diseases, kidney and liver fibrosis, and cancer.
Dr Dedhar’s recent research focus on mechanisms of metastasis has led to the discovery that the enzyme CAIX, which contributes to cancer cell survival and metastases, is a promising cancer therapeutic target. His dedication to translating this research to the clinic led to the formation of a biotech company, SignalChem Lifesciences Corporation (SLC) and development of new anti-cancer compounds entering clinical trials.
Dr Dedhar served for several years on the faculty of the University of Toronto’s department of medical biophysics. He is now a Distinguished Scientist in the Department of Integrative Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency and a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia.
In his 30-year career he has authored more than 190 publications and been granted almost 20 patents. In the course of his distinguished research career Dr Dedhar has also shown his commitment to serving the research community through conference organization, editorial activities, and years of service on Canadian Cancer Society and other national and international grant review panels. He is known to be an excellent speaker and a dedicated mentor.
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