Women's College Research Institute

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Leonardo Salmena, PhD

Adjunct Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute
Affiliate Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Toronto

Leonardo Salmena, PhD, is a Canada Research Chair, Tier II in Signal Transduction and Gene Regulation in Cancer. Salmena’s laboratory is investigating the consequences of aberrant cellular signalling due to genetic mutations on the initiation, progression and therapy of various cancers.

Ongoing projects include:

  • The aberrant regulation of tumour suppressors such as PTEN and BRCA1 in epithelial cancers
  • The role of perturbed phosphoinositide signalling in hematopoiesis and cancer initiating cells
  • Measuring the impact of microRNA in chemoresistance using CRISPR screens

Salmena is working with Joanne Kotsopoulos, PhD, and Dr. Steven Narod to examine the role of OPG and RANK-L signaling in the development of breast cancer among women with BRCA1 mutation.

Select Awards

  • Canada Research Chair, Tier II, Signal Transduction and Gene Regulation in Cancer (2015-2020)
  • Career Development Award, Human Frontier Science Program (2012-2015)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2009-2011)
  • Long Term Fellowship, Human Frontier Science Program (2007-2009)
  • Doctoral Research Award, Canadian Institute of Health Research (2002-2005)


See my peer-reviewed publications

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PhD, Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, 2005

MSc, Department of Pharmacology, University of Toronto, 1999

Areas of Interest

Cancer Biology

Signal Transduction


Phosphoinositide Signaling

Chemotherapy Resistance

CRISPR gene editing

  • Fully affiliated with:
  • University of Toronto

  • A member of:
  • Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO)