Michael Hendzel

Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Oncology Dept


Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Oncology Dept
(780) 432-8439
Cross Cancer Institute
11560 University Avenue
Edmonton AB
T6G 1Z2


Area of Study / Keywords


Approximately 40% of Canadians are expected to have cancer at some point in their lives and approximately 25% of Canadians are expected to die of cancer.  It is only recently that modern biology has begun to impact upon the clinical treatment of cancer patients.  Despite early successes in so-called rationally designed therapy, much of the fundamental biology that provides the foundation for rationally designed therapy remains to be discovered and characterized.  My research laboratory investigates the basic biology of the genome and the cell nucleus, which houses the genome.  The maintenance of genome stability (mechanisms that ensure the faithful transmission of chromosome number of sequence content), the regulation of DNA double strand break repair, and the regulation of the genome through epigenetic mechanisms are being studied at the level of single cells with the objective of identifying mechanisms that have the potential to be translated into novel rationale therapies.  We are currently funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Cancer Institute of Canada, and the Alberta Cancer Board to study how the cell nucleus and chromatin function in normal and transformed (cancer) cells. 


ONCOL 520 - Tumor Biology

The course will provide an introduction to the basic science of oncology. Topics to be covered comprise: the genetic basis of cancer, including the role of proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes; mechanisms of carcinogenesis and radiation-sensitivity, including DNA repair and cell cycle control; the molecular basis of tumor metastasis, including tumor cell invasion, extravasation and dormancy; the role of inflammation in cancer initiation and progression; angiogenesis; cancer genetics, and epigenetics; cell signaling; experimental therapeutics; cancer stem cells; drug-resistance; metabolism and palliation. Course offered in alternate (even-numbered) years. Prerequisites: BIOCH 200, and one of the following: BIOCH 320 or 330 or ONCOL 320.

ONCOL 570 - Directed Reading in Experimental Oncology

Reading and discussion of current research literature on selected topics in experimental oncology under the direction of one or more faculty members. Topics presently available include cell adhesion mechanisms, cell cycle regulation, DNA repair, radiotherapy and susceptibility and resistance, oncogenes/tumor suppressor genes, and tumor cell metastasis. Notes: (1) Grades will be based on participation in group discussions and/or written reports from assigned readings with emphasis on critical evaluation of the subject matter. (2) Students in other graduate programs may register with the consent of Instructors. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

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Featured Publications

Hansen J.C., Maeshima K., Hendzel M.J.

Epigenetics & Chromatin. 2021 December; 14 (1) 10.1186/s13072-021-00424-5

Ali M.A.M., Garcia-Vilas J.A., Cromwell C.R., Hubbard B.P., Hendzel M.J., Schulz R.

FEBS LETTERS. 2021 January; 10.1111/febs.16061

Strickfaden H., Tolsma T.O., Sharma A., Underhill D.A., Hansen J.C., Hendzel M.J.

CELL. 2020 December; 183 (7):1772-1784.e13 10.1016/j.cell.2020.11.027

Barbour H., Daou S., Hendzel M., Affar E.B.

Nature Communications. 2020 December; 11 (1) 10.1038/s41467-020-19722-9