Experimental Oncology

Manijeh Pasdar

Associate Professor
Experimental Oncology
6-24 Medical Sciences Building
University of Alberta
Tel: 780.492.3356


Research Interest:

Role of cell adhesion molecules in tumorigenesis and metastasis.
Our principal research interest is to understand mechanisms regulating cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion and interaction in epithelia during normal epithelial biogenesis and in tumorigenesis/metastasis.
We have developed two experimental model systems using squamous and breast carcinoma cell lines with various degrees of transformation/invasiveness and adhesion-related abnormalities. Using molecular biological techniques, we have systematically corrected the adhesion deficiencies of these cell lines and assessed the results. These studies have led to the generation of a number of cell lines with common genetic background and different cell adhesion complements. Using these model systems and a combination of morphological, biochemical, molecular biological, proteomics and transcriptomics, we specifically examine the interactions between cell adhesion proteins and proteins that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation and programmed cell death and the impact of these interactions on cell adhesive properties mediated by cadherins. These studies have provided key insights into the overall understanding of molecular mechanisms of adhesion-mediated signaling, which control the expression of genes involved in the regulation of cell growth and malignant transformation.


1. Lam L, Aktary Z, Bishay M, Werkman C, Kuo C-Y, Heacock M, Srivastava N, Mackey JR and Pasdar M. Regulation of subcellular distribution and oncogenic potential of nucleophosmin by plakoglobin. Oncogenesis 1: e4; doi:10.1038/oncsis.2012.4.

2. Aktary Z, Pasdar M. Plakoglobin: Role in Tumorigenesis and Metastasis. Invited Review, Int J Cell Biol. 2012;2012:189521.

3. Aktary Z, Chapman KA, Lam L, Ji C, Lo A, Cook L, Graham K, Mackey J, Li L, Pasdar M.  Plakoglobin interacts with, regulates the expression and increases the protein levels of non-metastatic protein 23 (Nm23). Oncogene, 2010;29:2118-29- Featured in MDLinx on Jan 28, 2010.

4. Asgarian N, Hu X, Aktary Z, Chapman KA, Lam L, Chibbar R, Mackey J, Greiner R, Pasdar M. Learning to predict relapse in invasive ductal carcinomas based on the  subcellular localization of junctional proteins. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010;121:527-38.

5. Lam L, Hu X, Aktary Z, Andrews DW, Pasdar M. Tamoxifen and ICI 182,780 increase Bcl-2 levels and inhibit growth of breast carcinoma cells by modulating PI3K/AKT, ERK and IGF-1R pathways independent of ERa. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.  Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2009; 118: 605-621.

6. Li L, Chapman K, Hu X, Wong A, Pasdar M. Modulation of oncogenic potential of b-catenin by subcellular distribution of plakoglobin. Molecular Carcinogenesis 2007;46 (10):824-38.