Dr. Harding is a Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Assistant Professor at the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania.
Genome stability, DNA damage and Cancer
Cells are faced with a barrage of stressors that cause damage to the DNA. This damage can drive mutations, changes in gene expression and development of diseases, most notably cancer. To counteract this damage and to maintain the integrity of the genome, multiple signalling pathways sense DNA lesions and facilitate their repair. Importantly, radiotherapy and many chemotherapeutics create large amounts of DNA damage that overwhelm these responses and cause cell death. One of the goals of the lab is to maximize these anti-cancer therapies through a better understanding of the DNA damage response.
More specifically, the lab is interested in how the DNA damage response interacts with ongoing cellular processes, including transcription. To this end we use biochemistry, molecular biology and genetic methods to elucidate how DNA damage responses cause changes in cellular physiology and genome organization that can manifest during cancer development and treatment. In particular, we focus on how radiotherapy can initiate cellular signalling paradigms that influence patient responses to immunotherapy. Through collaborative studies with clinical colleagues our aim is to translate work from our laboratory to improve the ability to eliminate tumours while reducing unwanted side-effects in patients.
Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto