Adult Stem Cell Niches & Tumor Microenvironment 

We are working to unravel the biological complexity of tissue homeostasis since its disintegration underlies cancer and disease. Control over structural scaffolds, stem & progenitor cell populations, and instructive signals is essential for healthy aging of tissues. We excel at developing cutting-edge systems including genetically engineered mouse models and primary human cell mutagenesis platforms. We are known for our discoveries in proteolytic regulation of cell signalling, adult stem cell dynamics, and new cancer driver genes that govern tumorigenesis. We are translating our findings to benefit cancer therapy, prevention and cure.


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News and New Publications

January 2023
Happy holidays and happy new year from the Khokha Lab ~

Welcome Abhijith! Enjoy your post-doctoral journey.




December 2022

Congratulations Soumili on passing PhD qualifiers!




August 2022

Incredible job Foram on your PhD reclassification!




May 2022

Congrats Bowen on successfully reclassifying to a PhD!




April 2022

Welcome to our newest post-doc, Niklas!




Bowen and Nathan 3D printed Khokha Lab's first item!




March 2022

Welcome Shawn, enjoy your post-doctoral studies! 




February 2022

Congratulations Soumili on winning Best Speaker Award at the 39th Winterschool on Proteinases and Their Inhibitors. This program encourages young scientists to present their exciting and intriguing results for discussion with leading experts. 



January 2022

Happy new year from the Khokha Lab!


Congrats Emily for joining the Medical BioPhysics program at the University of Toronto. Enjoy your grad studies!




October 2021

Congratulations Sanjay and Ashley for publishing in Blood Advances! (1) Access it here: Abnormal B-cell development in TIMP-deficient bone marrow




Congratulations Barbara for publishing in Cell! Read the study here: Spatially confined sub-tumor microenvironments in pancreatic cancer

Twitter links (1)(2)(3)



May 2021

Hyeyeon's cover image got selected for the May 2021 issue of Nature Metabolism. Nice artwork created with single cell images obtained using Amnis! 






Congrats Mathepan, Hyeyeon, Curtis and the mammary team for publishing in Nature Metabolism! Access the paper here: Mammary epithelial cells have lineage-rooted metabolic identities



Rama has received the Richard Hill Mentorship Award, which recognizes an outstanding scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre who has demonstrated remarkable mentorship and has effectively contributed to the career development of trainees and faculty. Congratulations Rama!



Congrats Purna Joshi on recruitment to University of Dallas Texas as Assistant Professor. Wishing you all the best!

Follow her on Twitter



Congratulations Matthew on winning the CNPN 2021 Trainee Presentation Award! 




Hyeyeon has released her preprint on bioRxiv.

Read it here: Mammary lineage dictates homologous recombination repair and PARP inhibitor vulnerability



Foram and Bowen presented at the first annual Medical BioPhysics Symposium, a full-day student-led conference. Due to pandemic restrictions, the event was hosted virtually. Despite the distance, the Symposium was successful in bringing MBP faculty and students together to celebrate the accomplishments of our diverse department. See article.



April 2021

At the Parliamentary Health Research Caucus event called “Cancer Gone: The Research and Innovation that Thinks it Can,” Rama presented the Princess Margaret initiative called ‘molecular cancer prevention (MCP)’ that she started alongside Dr. Hal Berman and Dr. Stephanie Lheureux. This event explores the advances in cancer research and introduces Parliamentarians to Canada’s best and brightest researchers and research teams working in the field.



Congrats Foram on being awarded CGS-M this year! The CGS-M program provides financial support to high-calibre scholars who are engaged in eligible master’s or, in some cases, doctoral programs in Canada.



March 2021

Happy International Women's Day! Celebrating women in science.









February 2021

Barbara's preprint is now on bioRxiv.

Read it here: Spatially confined sub-tumor microenvironments orchestrate pancreatic cancer pathobiology



January 2021

Welcome Soumili to Khokha Lab and to Medical BioPhysics at UofT. Enjoy your Ph.D journey! 




Barbara moderated a JLABs Fire Side Chat event on career tips for aspiring cancer researchers! She represents the Ontario Rising Stars in Cancer Research Network as a Delegate. 

Watch it on YouTube:





October 2020

Barbara presented her work at the Virtual Special Conference on Pancreatic Cancer ​hosted by AACR.

She discussed stromal phenotypic heterogeneity in PDAC progression. 




September 2020

Rama was elected to Royal Society of Canada (RSC) Class of 2020!

Read more: (1) (2)






We are pleased to have Foram and Bowen join us as graduate students.




June 2020

Curtis is a recipient of the Banting Fellowship. Congratulations! The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program provides funding to the very best postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to the country's economic, social, and research-based growth.







March 2020

Congrats Hyeyeon for successfully defending her PhD via zoom. What an amazing feat!




Dec 2019

Some of the mamary team attended the Breast Cancer Symposium in San Antonio, Texas! A great conference by American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Amazing to hear about all the progress in breast cancer clinical trials and translational research.




Oct 2019

Sanjay and Paul's review is now available in Trends in Immunology:

Metalloproteases: On the Watch in the Hematopoietic Niche




Aug 2019

Mathepan just earned his Master's degree. Congrats!

His paper is now on biorxiv: 

Mammary epithelial cells have lineage-restricted metabolic identities



Congratulations Alison and Sanjay!

Read their paper in JCB here: 

Metalloprotease inhibitor TIMP proteins control FGF-2 bioavailability and regulate skeletal growth.


July 2019

Pirashaanthy's and Mathepan's review is out in EMBO Journal!

Read here: Mammary stem cells and progenitors: targeting the roots of breast cancer for prevention.



May 2019

Read Purna's paper in Nature Communications here:

PDGFRα+ stromal adipocyte progenitors transition into epithelial cells during lobulo-alveologenesis in the murine mammary gland.