Gorski Lab

The study of autophagy (= “self-eating”) has generated tremendous attention due to the recognition that autophagy is involved in multiple developmental processes and various human diseases including cancer.

Autophagy is a catabolic cellular process that provides nutrients and energy through lysosomal degradation of cytoplasmic components engulfed in double membrane-bound vesicles known as autophagosomes. Autophagy occurs at basal rates in virtually all eukaryotic cells to fulfill homeostatic functions such as the recycling of long-lived proteins and damaged organelles. In this way, autophagy acts to safeguard genome integrity and suppress tumorigenesis. Under cellular stress conditions, autophagy is upregulated as an adaptive survival response. Cancer cells may exploit elevated autophagy to survive low nutrient conditions, fuel proliferation, and escape the effects of chemotherapy and other treatments. Consequently, autophagy is under investigation as a target for anticancer therapy in preclinical studies and clinical trials. However, our understanding of the mechanisms by which cells utilize the autophagy pathway to promote both normal development and cancer progression is limited. 

To help elucidate these mechanisms, the overall goals of my research program are to identify and characterize regulators of autophagy, investigate the roles of autophagy during normal development, and evaluate the therapeutic potential of autophagy modulation for cancer treatment.

For more information, visit our research lab website.



Lab Room:

BCCA Genome Sciences Centre 7-124

Lab Phone:

(604) 675-8000 (local 7905)

Selected Publications

  • Yang KC, Kalloger SE, Aird JJ, Lee MKC, Rushton C, Mungall KL, Mungall AJ, Gao D, Chow C, *Xu J, Karasinska JM, Colborne S, Jones SJM, Schrader J, Morin RD, Loree JM, Marra MA, Renouf DJ, Morin GB, Gorski SM. Proteotranscriptomic classification and characterization of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms. Cell Reports. Epub 2021 Oct 12. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109817. PMID: 34644566
  • Lebovitz C, Wretham N, Osooly M, Milne K, Dash T, Thornton S, Tessier-Cloutier B, Sathiyaseelan P, Bortnik S, Go NE, Halvorsen E, Cederberg RA, Chow N, Dos Santos N, Bennewith KL, Nelson BH, Bally MB, Lam WL, Gorski SM. Loss of Parkinson's susceptibility gene LRRK2 promotes carcinogen-induced lung tumorigenesis. Scientific Reports. 2021 Jan 22;11(1):2097. PMID: 33483550
  • Ho CJ, Samarasekera G, Rothe K, Xu J, Yang KC, Leung E, Chan M, Jiang X, Gorski SM. Puncta intended: connecting the dots between autophagy and cell stress networks. Autophagy. 2020 Jun 7:1-6. PMID: 32507070
  • Bortnik S, Tessier-Cloutier B, Leung S, Xu J, Asleh K, Burugu S, Magrill J, Greening K, Derakhshan F, Yip S, Ng T, Gelmon KA, Nielsen TO, Gorski SM.  Differential expression and prognostic relevance of autophagy-related markers ATG4B, GABARAP, and LC3B in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2020 Oct;183(3):525-47. PMID: 32685993
  • Bosc D, Vezenkov L, Bortnik S, An J, Xu J, Choutka C, Hannigan AM, Kovacic S, Loo S, Clark PGK, Chen G, Guay-Ross RN, Yang K, Dragowska WH, Zhang F, Go NE, Leung A, Honson NS, Pfeifer TA, Gleave M, Bally M, Jones SJ, *Gorski SM, *Young RN.  A new quinoline-based chemical probe inhibits the autophagy-related cysteine protease ATG4B. Scientific Reports. 2018 Aug 3;8(1):11653. PMID: 30076329.  PMCID: PMC6076261. 

» View More Publications