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Dr. Rod Bremner

Research Institute
Mount Sinai Hospital
Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Health Complex
600 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 1X5

Tel.: 416-586-4800 ext.1525

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Dr. Rod Bremner


Dr. Bremner is interested in cancer and regeneration. His lab is studying overarching rules that govern cancer cell vulnerabilities as well as context-specific susceptibility to cancer-causing defects.

Cancer is an incredibly complex disease, and heterogeneity and plasticity often thwart therapy.  However, Dr. Bremner’s group discovered that all cancers fall into one of just two classes based on the opposite expression and opposite pro- or anti-cancer activity of a single transcriptional coactivator.  Cancers in opposite groups share transcriptome and behavioural properties and, of major clinical relevance, they exhibit contrasting genetic and pharmaceutical vulnerabilities. Cancers exploit these differences to jump binary classes and evade therapy.  The team is studying how to exploit these shared higher-order properties to block binary class-switching and to develop improved cancer therapies. 

The Bremner lab is also studying how to block neurodegeneration and how to stimulate neural regeneration in the CNS using retina as a model. The team’s goal is to develop strategies to protect and restore sight.  The group uses single cell genomics, functional genomics, 3D cultures and in vivo models to define networks and pharmaceutical targets that could be tapped to improve therapy for cancer and blindness.


At a Glance

Deduced a simple rule that divides all cancers into binary classes

Studying how cancers switch classes to evade therapy

Studying why cancer-causing mutations always predispose to cancer only in limited cell types - why are most cell types resistant?

Applying cutting edge single cell and functional genomics to deduce better treatments for cancer and blindness 

Major Research Activities

Employing single cell genomics, proteomics, functional genomics, and in vitro and in vivo models to deduce how cancers switch binary classes

Using high throughput robotics to uncover synergistic cancer therapies

Developing in vivo CRISPR platforms to uncover new targets for blindness therapies