Dr. Tanveer Sharif
Dr. Tanveer Sharif, PhD
Assistant Professor, Departments of Pathology and Human Anatomy & Cell Science

Principal Investigator, Tumor Suppressor Biology, Autophagy and Metabolism Program

Rm. 400 Brodie, Department of Pathology
Max Rady Faculty of Medicine
727 McDermot Avenue
Winnipeg, MB, R3E 3P5
Tel: (204)789-3460
Email: Tanveer.Sharif@umanitoba.ca

Dr. Tanveer Sharif is a Pharmacist turned researcher, he received his BSc in Pharmacy and MSc in Pharmacology. Dr. Sharif completed his PhD at the University of Strasbourg in France before moving to Canada in 2013 to pursue his postdoctoral fellowship at Dalhousie University, where he trained under the supervision of Dr. Patrick W.K. Lee prior to his retirement. At Dalhousie, Dr. Sharif studied the role of tumor suppressors and metabolism in embryonal carcinoma stem cells and patient-derived brain tumor-initiating cells. In 2019, Dr. Sharif joined the University of Manitoba as a Principal Investigator to lead a new Tumor Suppressor Biology, Autophagy and Metabolism program in the Department of Pathology.

Research Program

One of the difficulties in obtaining effective treatment outcomes from cancer therapies is the complex genetic heterogeneity of tumors. Tumor masses consist of several distinct populations of cancer cells that vary in their degree of differentiation and susceptibility to chemotherapies. Within the heterogenous tumor mass there exists small populations of poorly differentiated cells that possess stem-like properties such as the ability to self-renew and undergo multi-lineage differentiation. These poorly differentiated cancer cells are often more resistant to cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Because of their self-renewal capacity and differentiation potential, these stem-like cancer cells can survive chemotherapeutic assault and re-initiate tumor formation at very low cell numbers, hence they are often referred to as tumor-initiating cells (TICs). As such, TICs are considered the major culprits behind cancer recurrence and relapse. Therefore, it is important to understand the differences between heterogenous cell populations within tumors that dictate chemotherapy resistance.

Dr. Sharif is actively engaged in research focused on understanding the role of mechanistic metabolic rewiring and autophagy in the biology of TICs and extending synthetic lethality approaches to exploit metabolic vulnerabilities within heterogeneous tumor populations. The major areas of research focus within the Tumor Suppressor Biology, Autophagy and Metabolism Lab include:

  1. Understanding the role of the tumor suppressor TAp73 (member of the p53 family of tumor suppressors) in heterogenous tumor populations and stemness.
  2. Understanding the unique metabolic phenotypes of distinct cell populations within heterogenous tumor masses and identifying potential metabolic vulnerabilities to target TICs.
  3. Understanding the role of the metabolism-related physiological process of autophagy in the biology and metabolic plasticity of TICs.
  4. Deciphering the role of metabolism-based epigenetic and post-translational modifications to identify new targets for inducing metabolism-based synthetic lethality in TICs.
  5. Understanding and targeting the intersections between mitochondrial tumor suppressor proteins, autophagy, and metabolism in TICs to design metabolism-based synthetically lethal therapeutic strategies.

Key Research Infrastructure and Platforms

In the Tumor Suppressor Biology, Autophagy and Metabolism Lab, Dr. Sharif utilizes cutting-edge molecular biology techniques to study unique metabolic and genetic characteristics within heterogenous tumor populations. The lab is equipped with:

  1. A state-of-the-art PALM Microbeam laser dissection microscope for precise and sterile isolation of distinct cell populations from cell cultures as well as patient or animal tissues.
  2. A Zeiss Axio Imager fluorescent widefield microscope equipped with an ApoTome for optimal sectioning and imaging of thick specimens.
  3. A Synergy Multi-Mode Microplate Reader for analysis of fluorescent and chemiluminescent-based metabolic assays, ELISA assays, kinetic assays, viability assays and more.
  1. In-house Typhoon FLA9500 imaging system and Applied Biosystems 7500 Real-time PCR equipment are available for in-depth analysis of gene and protein expression.

Additionally, the lab is supported by the central flow cytometry core facility and multi-omics mass spectrometry platform.

Prospective students: Currently looking to recruit Undergraduate, summer, Honors and Graduate students. Interested students can contact directly.