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Cynthia Hawkins

Title:
Neuropathologist, Department of Paediatric Laboratory Medicine
Designations:
PhD, MD, FRCPC
Phone:
416-813-5974
Email:
Cynthia.hawkins@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact Name:
Alison Cayetano
Alternate Phone:
416-813-7654
Alternate Email:
alison.cayetano@sickkids.ca
REACH Profile:
Cynthia Hawkins' REACH profile
U of T Positions:
Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Research Positions

Senior Scientist 
Cell Biology, The Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre

Biography

Dr. Cynthia Hawkins is a neuropathologist-scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), with a clinical practice devoted specifically to paediatric neuropathology and a laboratory devoted exclusively to paediatric brain tumor research.

In the last five years, she has published over 50 papers related to paediatric brain tumors. Dr. Hawkins has made contributions relevant to a spectrum of paediatric brain tumors with a particular focus on glioma. She has served as the central reviewer for a Canadian national study of AT/RT, a recurrent high-grade glioma/ ependymoma trial through COG and serve as the paediatric central pathology reviewer for the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN). In summary, Dr. Hawkins has a demonstrated record of accomplished and productive research projects as well as clinical expertise in the field of pediatric neuro-oncologic pathology. 

Research

Brain tumors are the largest group of solid tumours and the leading cause of cancer-related death in childhood. The most devastating are paediatric high-grade astrocytoma (pHGA), including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). These are incurable tumours with a median survival under two years. They respond poorly to conventional therapy and drug trials based on adult HGAs have not succeeded.

The discovery of recurrent histone mutations (H3K27M and H3.3G34R) in pHGA by us and others provided important clues regarding the role of epigenetic in the pathogenesis of these cancers. But despite these important genetic findings, there is still no effective treatment for these children.

The Hawkins lab is particularly interested in understanding what drives these tumours and how we can use this information to develop new therapies.

Education

  • 2002: FRCPC, Neuropathology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 1997: MD, Medicine, University of Western Ontario, London, ON 
  • 1996: PhD, Physiology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON 
  • 1992: B.Sc., Physiology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON 

Experience

  • 2008–2013: Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 2004–2008: Scientist-Track Investigator, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON 
  • 2002–2008: Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 

Achievemetns

  • 2011–2017: Lucien J. Rubinstein Award, American Association of Neuropathologists 
  • 2010: Lotte-Strauss Prize, Society for Pediatric Pathology 
  • 2009: Lucien J. Rubinstein Award, American Association of Neuropathologists 
  • 2003–2007: Eli-Lilly/CCO/CIHR Clinician Scientist Award 
  • 1999–2000: Mary Tom Award, Canadian Association of Neuropathology 

Publications

  1. Buczkowicz P, Hoeman C, Rakopoulos P, Pajovic S et al. Genomic analysis of diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas identifies three molecular subgroups and recurrent activating ACVR1 mutations. Nature Genetics. 2014 May;46(5):451-6.
  2. Khuong-Quang DA, Buczkowicz P, Rakopoulos P, Liu XY et al. K27M mutation in histone H3.3 defines clinically and biologically distinct subgroups of pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. Acta Neuropathol. 2012 Sep;124(3)439-447. 
  3. Zarghooni M, Bartels U, Lee E, Buczkowicz P et al. Whole-genome profiling of pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas highlights platelet-dericed growth factor receptor alpha and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase as potential therapeutic targets. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2010 Mar10;28(8)1337-1344.

See a full list of Cynthia Hawkins' publications

b.r.a.i.nchild, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Genome Canada, Meagan’s Walk.

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