Marco Marra


Post-nominal titles:



Professional Profile:

  • PhD (1994), Simon Fraser University
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
  • Canada Research Chair in Genome Sciences

Research Area:

The overarching ambition of our research is to understand how the dysregulation of genomes and epigenomes promotes diseases, particularly cancer. We use genomics, bioinformatics, genetics and cell biology to help understand the selective advantages conferred to cancer cells as a consequence of dysregulation of genomes, transcriptomes and epigenomes, and aim to reveal insights that can be translated for the benefit of cancer patients. One major research theme revolves around developing genomic and bioinformatic technologies of potential relance to cancer medicine. We perform genomic analyses of cancer patient samples to guide treatment decision-making, and in this regard are particularly interested in the potential of single cell multi-omics and long read sequencing. The second major theme involves exploring the interplay between the epigenome and the genome. We and others have noted the strikingly high frequency of mutations in transcriptional regulators, especially chromatin modifiers, as candidate cancer driver alterations. This observation indicates that the interplay between the genome and the epigenome can be exploited by cancer cells, but exactly how and the extent to which important new treatment insights may emerge from this insight require elucidation.

Research questions:

  1. What are the cancer drivers?
  2. Of what significance is the interplay between the genome and the epigenome in cancer?
  3. How do patterns of ‘omic dysregulation change with cancer treatment and during the evolution of treatment resistant disease?
  4. What is the potential of genomic technologies to inform cancer treatment decision-making?

Research Keywords

Bioinformatics, biotechnology, carcinogenesis, computational modeling, epigenomics, genomics, personalized medicine, translation

Publication Highlights:

Deyell, R.J., Shen, Y., Titmuss, E. et al. Whole genome and transcriptome integrated analyses guide clinical care of pediatric poor prognosis cancers. Nat Commun 15, 4165 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-48363-5