Axel Thomson, PhD (Assoc. Professor, McGill University, Dept. of Surgery, Division of Urology, and Cancer Research Program)
Thursday 16 Nov/17 at 4:00 pm in QCRI Conf Rms 100/01
"Stromal regulation of prostate development and cancer; using tissues and single cell transcriptomics to define new markers and mechanisms"
Dr Thomson has spent his career studying how androgens and stromal:epithelial interactions control prostate growth in both development and cancer. This has involved transcriptional profiling of developmental mesenchyme and cancer-associated fibroblasts with tissue and single cell methods, and using models with low cell and tissue heterogeneity – a major confounder in biology and transcriptomics. Androgen signalling within mesenchyme is essential for the development of male sex-accessory organs such as the prostate, while androgen action in tumour stroma contributes to prostate tumourigenesis and progression. Most studies of androgen action have focussed upon Androgen Receptor function in tumour and epithelial cells, but Dr Thomson has addressed androgen action in stroma. Similarly, predictive bio-marker research has focussed on tumour cells, though stromal markers have emerged as a new way to predict cancer outcome. Mis-expression of developmental mesenchymal pathways in tumour fibroblasts has been shown to reduce tumour growth and invasion, confirming the importance of stroma in tumour progression.
Dr Thomson has lost many battles with prevarication, self-discipline, reviewers, and his children. He has ridden many technology bandwagons, and considers himself a reasonable judge of over-hyped claims, excluding his own. His seminar features old and modern methods, plenty of physiological relevance, and a minimum of statistics. The talk will be delivered with enthusiasm; perhaps sufficient to keep both senior faculty and students awake, for at least some of it. Dr Thomson will consider the talk a success if he is not chased out of the auditorium, and any of those in the audience can remember any part of the data or conclusions one month later.