Cancer and Genetic Diseases

Cytoskeletal Organization and Cell Migration

Under the direction of Jean-François Côté

Research Unit

Metastatic tumors are responsible for 90% of cancer-caused deaths. Metastasis is a complex process that involves migration and invasion of tumour cells from the primary site into the circulation and completes when the cancer cells invade into distant tissues before growing as macro-metastatic lesions. Once the disease spreads to secondary organs it becomes virtually incurable. 

Unraveling the cellular and molecular mechanisms allowing cancer cells to colonize secondary organs and grow as macro-metastases is essential to uncover the novel therapeutic targets for improving patients’ survival. 

To achieve this long-term general objective, the research unit designed an original research program that uses multidisciplinary approaches divided over three themes connected to cytoskeletal dynamics.

Jean-François Côté

Research Unit Director

  • Vice President, Research and Academic Affairs, IRCM
  • Director, Cancer and Genetic Diseases Research Division, IRCM
  • Director, Cytoskeletal Organization and Cell Migration Research Unit, IRCM
  • Full IRCM Research Professor
  • Full research professor, Department of Medicine (accreditation in molecular biology, and in biochemistry and molecular medicine), Université de Montréal
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine (Division of Experimental Medicine), McGill University
  • Research Scholar, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé
  • Holder of the Transat Chair in breast cancer research
  • Person in charge of responsible conduct of research, IRCM

Awards and honours

  • 2013 Pierre-Bois Excellence Award, IRCM Foundation
  • Pre-doctoral awards from Cancer Research Society and NCIC (Terry Fox Funds)
  • Post-doctoral award from CIHR and NCIC (Terry Fox Funds)
  • CIHR “New Investigator” award (2006-2011)
  • FRQS Scholar (Junior 1, Junior 2, Senior) awards
  • Recipient of the Marcel Piché prize

Degrees and relevant experience

  • PhD in biochemistry, McGill University (1996-2001)
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, California, USA
Jean-François Côté
Research Unit Director
Afnan Abu-Thuraia
Postdoctoral fellow
Jonathan Boulais
Bioinformatics Analyst
Rebecca Cusseddu
PhD student
Carine Delliaux
Postdoctoral fellow
Michelle El-Khoury
PhD student
Islam Elkholi
PhD student
Marie-Anne Goyette
PhD student
Amélie Robert
Research Associate
Marie-Pier Thibault
Research Assistant
Viviane Tran
PhD student
Mariana Correro
Administrative Assistant
Javier Di Noia
Research Unit Director
Mathieu Ferron
Research Unit Director
Artur Kania
Research Unit Director
Tarik Möröy
Research Unit Director

Projects and major discoveries

Publications

2018

  • “Les cascades de signalisation qui contrôlent la fusion des myoblastes : du développement à la régénération musculaire”. Signalisation Québec 2018 Symposium, Bécancour, Canada. Invited speaker, June 6-8, 2018.
  • “Unraveling RHO GTPases signaling using BioID”. 10th Conference on Signalling in Normal and Cancer Cells, The Banff Center, Banff, Alberta, Canada. Invited speaker, April 15-19, 2018.
  • “Unraveling the molecular mechanisms of myoblast fusion”. Cell and Systems Biology of Disease Workshop 2018, Bellairs Research Institute, McGill University, Holetown, Barbados.  Invited speaker, January 2018.

2017

  • “Unravelling the complexity of metastasis: The receptor tyrosine kinase AXL in metastatic progression”. Anatomy and Cell Biology Department Summer Retreat, McGill University, Mont Gabriel, Quebec, Canada. Invited speaker, July 7, 2017.
  • “Unravelling the complexity of metastasis: Characterizing the roles of the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL in metastatic progression”. Queen’s Cancer Research Institute Frontiers in Cancer Research Seminar. Invited speaker, June 21, 2017.
  • “Décomposer la complexité du processus métastatique: Le récepteur tyrosine kinase AXL dans les cancers du sein métastatiques”. Conférence du Centre de Recherche du CHUL, Québec, Québec. Invited speaker, June 9, 2017
  • “Décomposer la complexité du processus métastatique: Caractérisation des mécanismes moléculaires du récepteur tyrosine kinase AXL dans les cancers du sein métastatiques”. Séminaire du Centre de recherche HRM, Montréal, Québec. Invited speaker, February 24, 2017.
  • “Receptor tyrosine kinase and Rho GTPase signaling networks in metastatic progression”.   Meakins-Christie Research Seminar Series, McGill University, Montreal, Québec.  Invited speaker, February 20, 2017.
  • “Phosphoproteomics and BioID screens connect the RTK AXL to focal adhesion turnover in triple-negative breast cancer cells”. Cell and Systems Biology of Disease Workshop 2017, Bellairs Research Institute, McGill University, Holetown, Barbados.  Invited speaker, January 17, 2017.

2016

  • “Déchiffrage des réseaux de signalisation contrôlés par les GTPases Rho et les régulateurs des microtubules de la famille”. Signalisation Québec 2016 Symposium, Bécancour, Canada. Invited speaker, June 8-10, 2016.
  • “Receptor Tyrosine Kinase and Rho GTPase signaling networks in development and metastatic progression”. Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada. Invited seminar, May 27, 2016.

“Philanthropic TRANSAT Chair in Breast Cancer Research”
IRCM Research Chair (2017/3 - 2022/2; $500,000)
Role: Principal investigator

“Deciphering the signalling cascades controlling cell-cell fusion”
Project Grant: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2017/4 - 2022/3; $965,430)
Role: Principal applicant

“Mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis: Understanding the roles and molecular functions of the RTK AXL”
Operating Grant: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2015/7 - 2020/6; $936,254$)
Role: Principal applicant
Co-applicant: Jean-Philippe Gratton

“Defining the contribution of the microtubule +TIP-binding protein ACF7 toward breast cancer progression”
Operating Grant: The Cancer Research Society (2016/9 - 2018/8; $120,000)
Role: Principal applicant

“A novel proteomics approach to uncover Rho GTPases effector pathways”
Discovery Grant: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (2016/4 - 2021/3; $270,000)
Role: Principal applicant

“Role and regulation of PAK2 in endothelial cells and in tumour angiogenesis” 
Operating Grant: The Cancer Research Society (2017/9 - 2019/8; $120,000)
Role: Co-applicant
Principal applicant: Jean-Philippe Gratton

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Contact information

Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM)
110, des Pins Avenue West
Montréal, Québec  H2W 1R7

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Cancer and Genetic Diseases