Sharon Gorski

BSc, Biological Sciences (Honors) SFU, 1990

MSc, Dept. of Medical Genetics, UBC, 1993

PhD, Div. of Biology & Biomedical Sciences, Washington School of Medicine, St. Louis, 1999


Senior Scientist, Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency

Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, SFU

Faculty Associate, Interdisciplinary Oncology Program, UBC


Following graduation from SFU, Sharon completed a MSc degree in the area of human genetics in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia in 1993. She later pursued a PhD studying programmed cell death in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, USA and graduated in 1999. Dr. Gorski initiated postdoctoral studies at the BC Cancer Agency, utilizing genomics approaches to study cell death. At the BC Cancer Agency, she also initiated the development of a research program in the cellular recycling process called autophagy, and in 2006 was promoted to Scientist at the Genome Sciences Centre. In 2008, she returned to SFU, this time joining the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (MBB) as a faculty member. Sharon held a CIHR New Investigator Award from 2009-2014 and also led the CIHR Team in Autophagy during that time. She is a member of the Interdisciplinary Oncology program at UBC/BC Cancer Agency, and helped to establish the Interdisciplinary Oncology Graduate Stream at SFU. Her research interests include the regulation of autophagy, the roles of autophagy during normal development and cancer progression, and the therapeutic potential of autophagy modulation for cancer.  In her spare time, Sharon enjoys taekwondo, hiking, and escaping to the north for outdoor excursions with her husband, son, daughter, and labradoodle. 


Why did you choose to go to SFU?   

I had a strong interest in biology and was also an exercise enthusiast, so I was drawn to the kinesiology program at SFU. I later became more interested in the molecular aspects of biology, and switched to the biology honors program.  

Where did you spend the most amount of time on campus?

Initially I spent most of my time in the library or the gym and, in later years, in the Smith lab. 

What is your favorite memory from your time at SFU?

SFU is where I met my future husband!

Who was your favorite SFU professor and why?

Dr. Michael Smith - his course on Developmental Biology captured my interest and he later gave me the opportunity to conduct honors research and a co-op semester in his laboratory. He was an excellent mentor, providing helpful advice (that I now pass on to my own students), the freedom to explore research questions, and the chance to work with a fantastic group of people. 

How has your SFU degree impacted your career? 

Greatly – it gave me exposure to a variety of courses and laboratory experiences that convinced me to pursue research as a career. 

What is your favorite SFU snow story?

Walking down Gaglardi Way in several feet of snow and ending up at a little Greek restaurant with candles and flaming sambucas. 

If you could give advice to students today, what would you tell them?

Follow your passions – pursue important problems – persevere. 

What is the one thing about SFU that must not change?

Ability to provide hands-on opportunities for students.