Anastasia Tikhonova

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Dr. Tikhonova is a Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Tikhonova is a recipient of an Investigator Award from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) to support her research program on dissecting and targeting the tumor microenvironment and contributes to OICR’s Acute Leukemia Translational Research Initiative. Among other honours, Dr. Tikhonova is also a recipient of the Gilead Research Scholar Award and the American Society of Hematology Scholar Award. She is a Founding member and a Co-chair of the Gender Equity Committee at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. 

Dr. Anastasia Tikhonova completed her dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. Alfred Singer at the National Cancer Institute, as part of the NIH-University of Pennsylvania Graduate Partnership in Immunology (2007-2011). There, she became interested in how microenvironmental factors dictate cell fate choices. Dr. Tikhonova continued her training in the laboratory of Dr. Iannis Aifantis (New York University Medical School), where she identified niche factors that govern hematopoietic stem cell differentiation and leukemia progression (2012-2019).  


  • The focus of Dr. Tikhonova’s group is to define which cellular and molecular niche factors regulate hematopoiesis under various insults, such as inflammation, hematopoietic malignancies and aging. 
  • We use cell imaging, single-cell transcriptomics and functional genomics to chart the molecular blueprints of the bone marrow niche and define their precise contribution to hematopoietic stress responses in mouse and man. 
  • Our goal is to bridge rigorous functional genomic studies of the bone marrow niche with clinical outcomes to devise rational targeted therapies for hematopoietic malignancies. 

    Every functional process in our body is mediated by highly orchestrated cellular crosstalk. The bone marrow microenvironment maintains all hematopoietic cells, including stem cells (HSCs) and progenitors, though cell-cell interactions and secretion of soluble factors. The explicit goal of our research program is to delineate the mechanisms that underlie dysregulated HSC-niche crosstalk and target it to halt aberrant hematopoiesis. 

    In addition to hematopoietic malignancies, many other tumor types including prostate, breast and lung metastasize to and seek refuge from chemotherapy in the bone. Despite considerable advances in therapies targeting these cancers, once tumor cells have metastasized to the bone, they are generally untreatable. Our goal is to define molecular mechanisms driving bone marrow involvement in malignant processes. Understanding the cell-cell interactions that facilitate bone marrow colonization is an urgent clinical need and will allow for the targeted design of improved therapeutic strategies. 

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For a list of Dr. Tikhonova's publications, please visit PubMed or Scopus.