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Research unit director
Director

David R. Hipfner, PhD

  • Director, Epithelial Cell Biology research unit
  • Associate IRCM Research Professor
  • Assistant research professor, Department of Medicine (accreditation in molecular biology), Université de Montréal
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University
  • New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research 

Dr. David R. Hipfner received his PhD training at the Cancer Research Laboratories at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, under the co-supervision of Dr. Susan P.C. Cole and Dr. Roger D. Deeley. He worked on mechanisms by which cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapy. During this time, he became interested in studying cancer-related processes in a physiological setting.

As a postdoctoral fellow, he switched fields to study developmental biology in Dr. Stephen M. Cohen’s laboratory at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. There, he carried out a genetic screen to identify genes that regulate tissue growth in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. This screen led to the identification of a novel protein, called Slik, which controls both the growth and structure of epithelial tissues during fly development.

As an independent researcher, Dr. Hipfner has continued to study how epithelial tissue size and shape are controlled in the developing fly. In particular, his group has focused on a class of proteins, called kinases, that are key transducers of the signals inside cells that control these processes. By focusing on kinases that have clearly identifiable counterparts in more complex animals, this research will provide basic insights into how tissue growth and organization are regulated in humans, and how perturbation of this regulation may contribute to the establishment and progression of tumours.

Dr David R. Hipfner holds a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Degrees and relevant experience

  • PhD in pathology, Queen’s University, Kingston
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Developmental Biology program, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany (1999-2005)
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