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Arthur & Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre

International fellows 2012

Photo - International Fellow

Mustafa Nadi, MD, PhD
I have been working as a post-doctoral fellow in the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre (BTRC) since July 2012 under the supervision of Dr. James Rutka. I did my neurosurgical residency at Jordan University Hospital (2002 – 2008). After passing the Neurosurgical Board Examination in 2008, I worked as an Assistant Consultant at The Islamic Hospital-Amman. The large patient volume in this institution gave me a wide exposure in general neurosurgery. My surgical focus is adult and paediatric brain tumours and endoscopic skull base surgery. Between July 2010 and June 2012, I worked at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) as a Paediatric Neurosurgery Fellow. Seeing a variety of oncology cases sparked my interest in neuro-oncology. I have done several clinical research studies in this field that were presented at international conferences.

Through my clinical work, I became interested in how basic research can impact the outcome of brain cancers, especially malignant glioma. With the help of my mentor Dr. Rutka, I had an unparalleled opportunity to further pursue my research interests. Currently, my research focus is on the malignant glioma invasion, principally on the spatiotemporal Drebrin expression pattern in glioblastoma. I believe that our research will add a new glioma invasion marker that will have a significant impact on glioblastoma clinical practice.  My experiences working in the BTRC are fascinating and I am thrilled to be participating in brain tumour research as a part of the BTRC research community.

Dr. Hidehiro Okura photo

Hidehiro Okura, MD
I have been working as a research fellow in the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre (BTRC) since May 2012 under the supervision of Dr. James Rutka. I graduated from Juntendo University School of Medicine, Japan, in 2000 and completed my neurosurgical residency in 2002. After successfully passing the Japan Neurosurgical Board Examination in 2006, I became a graduate student in the field of molecular biology at Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine from 2008 to 2012. Most of my studies there focused on how signal transduction by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates Rac1 activation.

I have always been interested in malignant glioma research and with the recommendation of my supervisor Dr. Hajime Arai in the department of neurosurgery at Juntendo University, I had this great opportunity to further pursue my research interests at the BTRC. Currently, my research focuses on the role of the Rho GTPase in malignant glioma invasion. I am working on the worm called C. elegans to elucidate the mechanisms of Rho GTPase in malignant glioma under the supervision of Dr. Brent Derry. The experiences at the BTRC are fascinating and I am happy to be participating in brain tumour research and be a part of the BTRC research community.  

Photo of Dr. Park

Jun Bum Park, MD
I have been a research fellow in Dr. Rutka’s lab in the Brain Tumour Research Centre at SickKids since Sept. 4, 2012. 

After completing my residency in neurosurgery and a clinical fellowship focused on paediatric and cerebrovascular brain tumours at Asan Medical Centre, I was a paediatric neurosurgeon at Ulsan University Hospital, Ulsan College of Medicine in Ulsan, Korea. My surgical focus is on adult and paediatric brain tumours, cerebrovascular lesions, clipping of aneurysm, EDA(M)S operation for Moyamoya disease. I have performed repairs of myelomeningocele and endoscopic surgery. During my years of clinical work, I became interested in conducting research to come up with an invasion or migration of glioblasoma and more targeted therapy. 

I am very happy to be at the BTRC and I’m ready for anything! 

Livia Garzia

Livia Garzia
I received a degree in medical biotechnology from the University of Naples in Italy in 2002. I then went on to pursue my PhD in life sciences at the Open University in Cambridge, UK. My research has been focused on two nervous system tumours – medulloblastoma and neuroblastoma – in which I studied altered non-coding RNAs involved in the disease pathogenesis. I have always been interested in how basic research can impact the outcome of severe diseases like paediatric brain cancers. I have always felt that better integration between clinicians and researchers and new tools to improve the tumours therapy is extremely important. 

Dr. Taylor’s exciting new model of medulloblastoma which recapitulates the progression of the human pathology inspired me and I am thrilled to be starting a research fellowship in his group to study and improve this genetic model of medulloblastoma. I believe that our research will provide the scientific community with a new powerful tool to develop new anti-cancer drugs and treatments.  

Photo of BTRC trainee

Fabio Morgese, PhD
A biochemist by training, I achieved a PhD in molecular medicine at the University of Trieste, Italy, in 2009. During my PhD, my research was focused on the identification and characterization of novel interactors of Fanconi Anemia (FA) proteins, in order to find new insights in the FA genetic disorder. Since my master’s degree, I have always been interested in understanding the molecular basis underlying diseases, since they are of fundamental importance in finding new, more effective and less invasive therapies.

I joined the BTRC in June 2009 as post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Jane McGlade’s lab, intrigued by the connections between cell polarity, development and tumorigenesis. My work is currently focused on the molecular links involving epithelial cell polarity and other two pathways related to the development and growth of organs. Through this research, we hope to shed new light on cellular mechanisms leading to the alteration of cellular architecture, tissue growth and ultimately cancer.