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    Canada Research Chair

  • Sabine Mai
  • Professor

    Max Rady College of Medicine
    Physiology and Pathophysiology
    ON 6046, CancerCare Manitoba Research Institute
    675 McDermot Ave
    University of Manitoba
    Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0V9

    Phone: 204-787-2135
    Fax: 204-787-2190

Research themes

  • Aging and Alzheimer's disease
  • Cancer
  • Genomic instability
  • Molecular imaging and technology development
  • Nuclear architecture
  • Oncogenes, especially MYC
  • Telomeres

Research interests

Dr. Mai's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of cellular transformation in disease (cancer and aging). 


  • 3D nucleus
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cancer
  • Fluorescent, spectral, 2D, 3D, 4D and super resolution imaging
  • Genomic instability 
  • MYC
  • Telomeres

Imaging platform and networks

  • Genomic Centre for Cancer Research and Diagnosis (GCCRD)
  • Canadian National Scientific Platforms
  • BioImaging Canada
  • BioImaging North America

Microscopy, optics and imaging workshop

Offers a workshop and course (IMED 7300) in the Fall Term (contact workshop@umanitoba.ca) in:

  • basic microscopy
  • future trends in microscopy
  • imaging and cameras
  • immunostaining
  • introduction to image analysis
  • microscope care and maintenance
  • theory and practice
  • transmitted and fluorescence techniques

Research summary

Dr. Mai's research has led to the identification of the oncogene c-MYC as a potent inducer of genomic instability; the development of structural biomarkers to understand the spatial organization of the cancer cell genome; and the development of quantitative software to measure the 3D spatial organization of the genome (for telomeres, centromeres, chromosomes, and genomic DNA).



Dr. Sabine Mai is a professor of physiology and pathophysiology, biochemistry and medical genetics, human anatomy and cell science at the University of Manitoba. She is also a senior investigator at the CancerCare Manitoba Research Institute, CancerCare Manitoba. In 2018, Dr. Mai was awarded a federally funded Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Genomic Instability and Nuclear Architecture in Cancer. She was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners in 2015.

Dr. Mai's career goal is to understand mechanisms of cancer initiation and progression in order to apply the knowledge gained to cancer patient care. 

Dr. Mai established and directs the Genomic Centre for Cancer Research and Diagnosis (GCCRD), a multi-disciplinary basic and translational/clinical research facility at the University of Manitoba and at CancerCare Manitoba. The GCCRD uses cutting-edge molecular imaging approaches, including super resolution microscopy. This pioneering imaging facility has received more than $33 million in grants through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and partners since 1999, including funding for the first super resolution imaging system in North America. Her team has used super resolution imaging to examine, for the first time, the nuclear architecture of the genome of cancer cells. With novel software her team developed, they were able to quantify the super resolved genomic differences in nuclear architecture between normal and tumor cells. 

Using quantitative 3D nuclear telomere imaging, her team has been able to develop the 3D telomere organization as a structural biomarker for multiple cancers, including prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia, glioblastoma and neuroblastoma. 

In 2014, Dr. Mai founded Telo Genomics Corp, which is located at MaRS Discovery District (Toronto, Canada), one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. The mission of the company is to utilize their clinical research findings related to the 3D nuclear organization of telomeres to enable personalized cancer treatment decisions. 

During her career, she has directly supervised and mentored more than 1,500 trainees, including undergraduate and graduate trainees, postdoctoral fellows and professors from Canada and all over the world. She has also been co-mentor and participated in many trainee advisory committees both national and international. 


  • Postdoctoral training (cancer, immunology), Basel Institute for Immunology, Basel, Switzerland
  • PhD (molecular biology), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Master of science (developmental biology), M.Sc., Cologne, German
  • Bachelor of science (biology), B.Sc., Cologne, Germany


  • Cognition Challenge Award
  • YMCA Women of Distinction Nominee
  • Women’s Executive Network Top 100: Canada’s Most Powerful Women 
  • University of British Columbia Science Co-op Supervisor Recognition Award
  • Canada Research Chair Tier 1 (Genomic Instability and Nuclear Architecture in Cancer)


Contact us

Physiology and Pathophysiology
432 Basic Medical Sciences Building
745 Bannatyne Avenue
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0J9 Canada