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Dr. Abdi Ghaffari

Assistant Professor, Queen's University
Dept. of Pathology and Molecular Medicine



  • BSc, Biochemistry, University of British Columbia
  • PhD, Experimental Medicine, University of British Columbia
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Queen’s Cancer Research Institute

    Research interests

    My research focuses on the mechanisms that drive cancer metastasis. In collaboration with our team here at Queen’s Cancer Research Institute, I have developed a real-time imaging model in tumor-bearing mice to track the movement of cancer cells in lymph node metastases and their interactions with immune cells (e.g. T cells). Focusing on ezrin, a pro-metastatic protein commonly overexpressed in highly aggressive cancers, we show that blocking ezrin halts the migration of invasive cancer cells and increases their encounters with cytotoxic T cells in lymph node metastases.

    In addition, I integrate our preclinical findings with my interest in translational biomarker discovery studies to identify novel biomarkers that predict outcome and response to treatment in breast cancer. Ultimately, my goal is to use basic knowledge obtained from preclinical models of metastatic disease to develop innovative cancer treatments.

    Time-lapse videos from our intravital imaging model of lymph node metastasis:

  • video1: intravital imaging in tumor-bearing lymphatic reporter mice (prox1-mOrange2) showing a small subset of metastatic cancer cells (GFP) that retained their invasive and migratory phenotype in regional lymph node. .mov, 8 sec, 4MB

  • video2: real-time imaging of T cell (CD3+; red) trafficking within afferent lymphatic vessels (blue) in naive (no tumour, left panel) versus tumor-bearing (right panel) mice. .mov, 4 sec, 2MB

  • video3: real-time images of T cells (CD3+; red) in naive (no tumour) inguinal lymph node (blue) of lymphatic reporter mice (prox1-mOrange2). .mov, 9 sec, 5MB

  • video4: time-lapse images showing migration of T cells (red) and their interactions with cancer cells (GFP) in a tumour-draining lymph node (blue). A subset of cytotoxic T cells form stable encounters with cancer cells in lymph node metastases. We can quantify these interactions in control vs treated tumour-bearing mice. .mov, 8 sec, 4MB

  • video5: time-lapse images showing contraction of a lymphatic ducts (orange) near the inguinal lymph node of a tumor-bearing mouse. .mov, 25 sec, 9MB



    Email: ghaffari(at)
    Office: Cancer Research Institute Botterell Hall, Rm 324
    18 Stuart Street
    Kingston Ontario K7L 3N6







    Page Created: 2017 March 28
    Page Last Updated: 2017 March 29