Dr. Gorski completed a PhD in Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO in 1999. She then conducted postdoctoral studies at the BC Cancer where she utilized genomics approaches to study cell death and cell survival pathways. Dr. Gorski is currently a Distinguished Scientist at Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer and a Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University. Her research program includes analyses of cell stress responses and cancer-related signaling pathways, with a focus on breast and pancreatic cancers.

  • Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University
  • Affiliate Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia
  • B.Sc., Biology (honours), Science Co-operative Education Program, Certificate Program in Liberal Arts, Simon Fraser University
  • M.Sc., Genetics, Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia
  • Ph.D., Developmental Biology, Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, USA


Selected Publications

Proteotranscriptomic classification and characterization of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms.

Cell reports, 2021
Yang, Kevin C, Kalloger, Steve E, Aird, John J, Lee, Michael K C, Rushton, Christopher, Mungall, Karen L, Mungall, Andrew J, Gao, Dongxia, Chow, Christine, Xu, Jing, Karasinska, Joanna M, Colborne, Shane, Jones, Steven J M, Schrader, Jörg, Morin, Ryan D, Loree, Jonathan M, Marra, Marco A, Renouf, Daniel J, Morin, Gregg B, Schaeffer, David F, Gorski, Sharon M
Pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (PNENs) are biologically and clinically heterogeneous. Here, we use a multi-omics approach to uncover the molecular factors underlying this heterogeneity. Transcriptomic analysis of 84 PNEN specimens, drawn from two cohorts, is substantiated with proteomic profiling and identifies four subgroups: Proliferative, PDX1-high, Alpha cell-like and Stromal/Mesenchymal. The Proliferative subgroup, consisting of both well- and poorly differentiated specimens, is associated with inferior overall survival probability. The PDX1-high and Alpha cell-like subgroups partially resemble previously described subtypes, and we further uncover distinctive metabolism-related features in the Alpha cell-like subgroup. The Stromal/Mesenchymal subgroup exhibits molecular characteristics of YAP1/WWTR1(TAZ) activation suggestive of Hippo signaling pathway involvement in PNENs. Whole-exome sequencing reveals subgroup-enriched mutational differences, supported by activity inference analysis, and identifies hypermorphic proto-oncogene variants in 14.3% of sequenced PNENs. Our study reveals differences in cellular signaling axes that provide potential directions for PNEN patient stratification and treatment strategies.

Loss of Parkinson's susceptibility gene LRRK2 promotes carcinogen-induced lung tumorigenesis.

Scientific reports, 2021
Lebovitz, Chandra, Wretham, Nicole, Osooly, Maryam, Milne, Katy, Dash, Tia, Thornton, Shelby, Tessier-Cloutier, Basile, Sathiyaseelan, Paalini, Bortnik, Svetlana, Go, Nancy Erro, Halvorsen, Elizabeth, Cederberg, Rachel A, Chow, Norman, Dos Santos, Nancy, Bennewith, Kevin L, Nelson, Brad H, Bally, Marcel B, Lam, Wan L, Gorski, Sharon M
Pathological links between neurodegenerative disease and cancer are emerging. LRRK2 overactivity contributes to Parkinson's disease, whereas our previous analyses of public cancer patient data revealed that decreased LRRK2 expression is associated with lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD). The clinical and functional relevance of LRRK2 repression in LUAD is unknown. Here, we investigated associations between LRRK2 expression and clinicopathological variables in LUAD patient data and asked whether LRRK2 knockout promotes murine lung tumorigenesis. In patients, reduced LRRK2 was significantly associated with ongoing smoking and worse survival, as well as signatures of less differentiated LUAD, altered surfactant metabolism and immunosuppression. We identified shared transcriptional signals between LRRK2-low LUAD and postnatal alveolarization in mice, suggesting aberrant activation of a developmental program of alveolar growth and differentiation in these tumors. In a carcinogen-induced murine lung cancer model, multiplex IHC confirmed that LRRK2 was expressed in alveolar type II (AT2) cells, a main LUAD cell-of-origin, while its loss perturbed AT2 cell morphology. LRRK2 knockout in this model significantly increased tumor initiation and size, demonstrating that loss of LRRK2, a key Parkinson's gene, promotes lung tumorigenesis.

Puncta intended: connecting the dots between autophagy and cell stress networks.

Autophagy, 2021
Ho, Cally J, Samarasekera, Gayathri, Rothe, Katharina, Xu, Jing, Yang, Kevin C, Leung, Emily, Chan, Michelle, Jiang, Xiaoyan, Gorski, Sharon M
Proteome profiling and global protein-interaction approaches have significantly improved our knowledge of the protein interactomes of autophagy and other cellular stress-response pathways. New discoveries regarding protein complexes, interaction partners, interaction domains, and biological roles of players that are part of these pathways are emerging. The fourth Vancouver Autophagy Symposium showcased research that expands our understanding of the protein interaction networks and molecular mechanisms underlying autophagy and other cellular stress responses in the context of distinct stressors. In the keynote presentation, Dr. Wade Harper described his team's recent discovery of a novel reticulophagy receptor for selective autophagic degradation of the endoplasmic reticulum, and discussed molecular mechanisms involved in ribophagy and non-autophagic ribosomal turnover. In other presentations, both omic and targeted approaches were used to reveal molecular players of other cellular stress responses including amyloid body and stress granule formation, anastasis, and extracellular vesicle biogenesis. Additional topics included the roles of autophagy in disease pathogenesis, autophagy regulatory mechanisms, and crosstalk between autophagy and cellular metabolism in anti-tumor immunity. The relationship between autophagy and other cell stress responses remains a relatively unexplored area in the field, with future investigations required to understand how the various processes are coordinated and connected in cells and tissues. A-bodies: amyloid bodies; ACM: amyloid-converting motif; AMFR/gp78: autocrine motility factor receptor; ATG: autophagy-related; ATG4B: autophagy related 4B cysteine peptidase; CALCOCO2/NDP52: calcium binding and coiled-coil domain 2; CAR T: chimeric antigen receptor T; CASP3: caspase 3; CCPG1: cell cycle progression 1; CAR: chimeric antigen receptor; CML: chronic myeloid leukemia; CCOCs: clear cell ovarian cancers; CVB3: coxsackievirus B3; CRISPR-Cas9: clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPR associated protein 9; DDXs: DEAD-box helicases; EIF2S1/EIF-2alpha: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 subunit alpha; EIF2AK3: eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha kinase 3; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; EV: extracellular vesicle; FAO: fatty acid oxidation; GABARAP: GABA type A receptor-associated protein; ILK: integrin linked kinase; ISR: integrated stress response; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; MPECs: memory precursory effector T cells; MAVS: mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein; NBR1: NBR1 autophagy cargo receptor; PI4KB/PI4KIIIβ: phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase beta; PLEKHM1: pleckstrin homology and RUN domain containing M1; RB1CC1: RB1 inducible coiled-coil 1; RTN3: reticulon 3; rIGSRNAs: ribosomal intergenic noncoding RNAs; RPL29: ribosomal protein L29; RPS3: ribosomal protein S3; ; sEV: small extracellular vesicles; ; SQSTM1: sequestosome 1; SF3B1: splicing factor 3b subunit 1; SILAC-MS: stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture-mass spectrometry; SNAP29: synaptosome associated protein 29; TEX264: testis expressed 264, ER-phagy receptor; TNBC: triple-negative breast cancer; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; VAS: Vancouver Autophagy Symposium.

Differential expression and prognostic relevance of autophagy-related markers ATG4B, GABARAP, and LC3B in breast cancer.

Breast cancer research and treatment, 2020
Bortnik, Svetlana, Tessier-Cloutier, Basile, Leung, Samuel, Xu, Jing, Asleh, Karama, Burugu, Samantha, Magrill, Jamie, Greening, Kendall, Derakhshan, Fatemeh, Yip, Stephen, Ng, Tony, Gelmon, Karen A, Nielsen, Torsten O, Gorski, Sharon M
Previous studies indicate that breast cancer molecular subtypes differ with respect to their dependency on autophagy, but our knowledge of the differential expression and prognostic significance of autophagy-related biomarkers in breast cancer is limited.

A new quinoline-based chemical probe inhibits the autophagy-related cysteine protease ATG4B.

Scientific reports, 2018
Bosc, D, Vezenkov, L, Bortnik, S, An, J, Xu, J, Choutka, C, Hannigan, A M, Kovacic, S, Loo, S, Clark, P G K, Chen, G, Guay-Ross, R N, Yang, K, Dragowska, W H, Zhang, F, Go, N E, Leung, A, Honson, N S, Pfeifer, T A, Gleave, M, Bally, M, Jones, S J, Gorski, S M, Young, R N
The cysteine protease ATG4B is a key component of the autophagy machinery, acting to proteolytically prime and recycle its substrate MAP1LC3B. The roles of ATG4B in cancer and other diseases appear to be context dependent but are still not well understood. To help further explore ATG4B functions and potential therapeutic applications, we employed a chemical biology approach to identify ATG4B inhibitors. Here, we describe the discovery of 4-28, a styrylquinoline identified by a combined computational modeling, in silico screening, high content cell-based screening and biochemical assay approach. A structure-activity relationship study led to the development of a more stable and potent compound LV-320. We demonstrated that LV-320 inhibits ATG4B enzymatic activity, blocks autophagic flux in cells, and is stable, non-toxic and active in vivo. These findings suggest that LV-320 will serve as a relevant chemical tool to study the various roles of ATG4B in cancer and other contexts.
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