Dr. Martin Hirst, PhD
Head of Epigenomics, Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency
Associate Professor, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology, Centre for High-Throughput Biology, University of British Columbia
|Phone||604-822-6373 (office) 604-827-4505 (lab)|
Epigenetics, the study of how covalent modifications to DNA and histones impact gene expression, is an emerging field with relevance to human disease. Normal cell development is accompanied by marked changes in the epigenome and specific epigenetic signatures have been identified in pluripotent, somatic and cancer cell types. Epidemiological and model organism studies have demonstrated that epigenetic modification can be induced via diverse environmental stimuli including stress, nutrient levels and toxin exposure. Epigenetic modification, which can be both transient and heritable in nature, thus provides a framework in which to investigate how environment and lifestyle choices impact disease susceptibility and progression. Furthermore, epigenetic modifications are central to chromatin dynamics and, as such, play key roles in many biological processes involving chromatin, such as DNA replication and repair, transcription and development. Our current understanding of the full repertoire of epigenetic modifications and the processes that they regulate is incomplete and we have only recently developed tools which allow for the study of normal human epigenomic polymorphism and the role that epigenetics plays in the initiation and progression of disease.
The overall objectives of our lab are directed at understanding the role of epigenetics in cancer and to investigate the therapeutic potential of interventions directed at epigenetic processes. We approach this from an epigenomic perspective by combining innovative molecular biology and computational techniques with genome wide detection platforms. More information about the Hirst research group is available at http://www.chibi.ubc.ca/faculty/martin-hirst/
Our lab publishes our epigenomic data at the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC).
116 total publications 1996-2016 | 21,153 total citations | H-index 63 | i10-index 97 tracked by Google Scholar as of Feb. 24, 2016.
- Katayoon Kasaian, Sam M Wiseman, Blair A Walker, Jacqueline E Schein, Martin Hirst, Richard A Moore, Andrew J Mungall, Marco A Marra, Steven JM Jones. Putative BRAF Activating Fusion in a Medullary Thyroid Cancer. Molecular Case Studies. 2015 Dec 23, doi: 10.1101/mcs.a000729.
- Katayoon Kasaian, Sam M Wiseman, Blair A Walker, Jacqueline E Schein, Yongjun Zhao, Martin Hirst, Richard A Moore, Andrew J Mungall, Marco A Marra, Steven JM Jones. The Genomic Landscape of Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer: Implications for Therapy. BMC Cancer. 2015 Dec 18;15(1):984. doi: 10.1186/s12885-015-1955-9.
- Nguyen LV, Pellacani D, Lefort S, Kannan N, Osako T, Makarem M, Cox CL, Kennedy W, Beer P, Carles A, Moksa M, Bilenky M, Balani S, Babovic S, Sun I, Rosin M, Aparicio S, Hirst M, Eaves CJ. Barcoding reveals complex clonal dynamics of de novo transformed human mammary cells. Nature. 2015 Dec 10;528(7581):267-71. doi: 10.1038/nature15742. Epub 2015 Dec 2.
- Lussier A, Comeau W, Bodnar T, Mingay M, Hirst M, Kobor MS, Weinberg J. Prenatal alcohol exposure alters the developmental methylation profile of the rat hypothalamus. Int J Dev Neurosci. 2015 Dec;47(Pt A):109. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2015.04.298
- Linehan WM, Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, et al. Comprehensive Molecular Characterization of Papillary Renal-Cell Carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 2016 Jan 14;374(2):135-45. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1505917. Epub 2015 Nov 4.
- Long V. Nguyen, Davide Pellacani, Nagarajan Kannan, Maisam Makarem, Tomo Osako, Claire L. Cox, William Kennedy, Philip Beer, Annaick Carles, Michelle Moksa, Sonja Babovic, Samuel Aparicio, Martin Hirst and Connie J. Eaves. Barcoding reveals an unexpected sequence of malignant change by normal human mammary cells. Nature, 2015 Dec 10;528(7581):267-71. doi: 10.1038/nature15742. Epub 2015 Dec 2.
- Julia Pon, Jackson Wong, Saeed Saberi ,Olivia Alder , Michelle Moksa, Grace Cheng, Gregg B. Morin , Pamela A. Hoodless, Martin Hirst, Marco Marra. MEF2B Mutations in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Dysregulate Cell Migration by Decreasing Transcriptional Activation of MEF2B Target Genes. Nature Communications. 2015 Aug 6;6:7953. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8953.
- Dyke SO, Cheung WA, Joly Y, Ammerpohl O, Lutsik P, Rothstein MA, Caron M, Busche S, Bourque G, Rönnblom L, Flicek P, Beck S, Hirst M, Stunnenberg H, Siebert R, Walter J, Pastinen T. Epigenome data release: a participant-centered approach to privacy protection. Genome Biol. 2015 Jul 17;16:142. doi: 10.1186/s13059-015-0723-0.
Martin Hirst's Complete Publication List including selected links to full text articles.
B.Sc., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Honours), University of British Columbia
Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia