Prof. Catherine O’Brien
Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at University Health Network, and a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center
Dr. O’Brien is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at University Health Network and a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center. She obtained her MD from Queen’s University and completed a General Surgery residency at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. O’Brien subsequently went on to complete a fellowship in surgical oncology at University of Toronto, specializing in gastrointestinal malignancies. During her fellowship she completed a PhD at the University of Toronto which results in the identification of cancer stem cells in colorectal cancer (Nature), under the supervision of Dr. J. Dick and Dr. S. Gallinger.
In 2011 Dr.O’Brien established an independent laboratory focused on understanding CRC biology in order to devise improved therapeutic strategies. Dr. O’Brien’s lab established a viable tissue CRC tumour bank that includes over 300 patient derived CRC samples, of which 100 have undergone genomic characterization. The xenograft bank is complemented by in vitro organoid cultures, and an increasing bank of normal intestinal cultures. Dr. O’Brien has published a number of papers in high impact journals including Nature, Science, Cancer Cell, and Cell. In 2021 her lab published a seminal paper in Cell where they identified that CRC cells can survive chemotherapy by entering a diapause-like drug tolerant persistent state. Dr. O’Brien’s lab is continuing their work in this novel field of the chemotherapy induced diapause-like DTP state in cancer, the ultimate goal being to translate their discoveries to the clinic.
Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR) is a registered charity on the Register of Charitable Organisations.
Registered Charity Number (RCN): 20030117