Martin Hirst

Director, Professor


Research Area

Dr. Hirst’s research aims to further our understanding of the role of epigenetic dysfunction in cancer initiation and progression and to translate this knowledge into improved health outcomes for Canadians.

International efforts to characterize genetic lesions in cancer genomes have revealed recurrent mutations in epigenetic modifiers and in some cases these can represent the sole driver. Understanding the functional implications of these mutations, their contribution to abnormal cellular differentiation and how emerging epigenetic therapeutics may counteract their effects represent the next critical steps towards translating this knowledge. In this context, Dr. Hirst is studying cancers that harbor highly recurrent gain and loss of function mutations to epigenetic modifiers, such as acute myeloid leukemia, synovial sarcoma, malignant rhabdoid tumor.  His research involves the development and application of molecular and computational tools to measure epigenetic features and drive new insights into normal and pathogenic epigenetic regulatory control.

Research Keywords

Biochemistry, bioinformatics, genomics, immunology, infectious disease, personalized medicine, microbiome, epigenomics, regenerative medicine, carcinogenesis

To learn more about the Hirst Lab, please visit hirstlab.msl.ubc.ca.