- PAHL 4828
- PAHL 4814
Assistant Professor | D.V.M., PhD
DVM, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
MSc, Marine Biotechnology, University of Tromso, Norway
PhD, Molecular Virology, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cancer Immunology&Immunotherapy, McMaster Immunology Research Center, Canada
Overview of Research Program
My lab's research aims to understand how cell intrinsic processes such as sensing of pathogens, stress and metabolic states shape homeostatic processes such as activation of the immune system. We use a variety of stimuli, including different classes of viruses, synthetic ligands and ligand-free genetic circuits in healthy and transformed cell lines established from evolutionarily divergent animal species. A common theme is to understand the crosstalk of distinct molecular processes that serve as an innate guard against invading pathogens and malignancies. We also study how these innate processes, such as the type I interferon system and programmed cell death, shape the development of adaptive immunity against viruses and cancer. We continue to translate the basic findings into therapeutics for cancer and viral diseases.
1. Decoding how viral associated ligands activate programmed cell death: Sensing of viral nucleic acids can activate a variety of antiviral responses, including programmed cell death. Our understanding of how nucleic acid sensing shapes programmed cell death is largely unknown. Our laboratory uses synthetic circuits and a variety of genetic tools to study how antiviral signaling activates programmed cell death. The findings of this study are crucial to understanding the biology of programmed cell death.
2. Pathophysiological outcomes of cell death: Programmed cell death is a highly regulated process with several immune-related organismal outcomes that can be pathogenic or therapeutic. We study in what circumstances can programmed cell death become pathogenic/therapeutic and what are the mediators of these immunological consequences. We utilize a variety of discovery tools such as Mass Spectrometry, Single Cell RNA Sequencing, and genome-scale CRISPR/Cas9 screening platforms to discover new immunobiology. The knowledge gained is required to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer and viral diseases.
3. Mechanisms of tumor detection by the immune system: The immune system is a powerful ally to eliminate malignant cells. Mechanisms by which immunotherapy refractory cancers, such as breast, pancreatic and brain tumors, evade anticancer immune responses remain largely unknown. We deploy a variety of immune-resistant tumor models and genetic tools to understand the biology of tumor-induced adaptive resistance mechanisms.
Jordon Inkol, PhD Student
Michael Westerveld, MSc Student
Ali Younis, MBS Student- 1 Year course based Masters degree
Shayla Verburg, BioCanRx Summer Student and 4th year Biomedical Sciences thesis student
Rebecca Lelievre, Summer USRA and 4th year Cellular and Molecular Biology thesis student
Yi Lin Sun, 4th year Biomedical Sciences student and Volunteer
Mechanisms of Disease - Invited Lecture on Cancer Immuntherapy
Professional Experience & Honours
2014 - Recipient of the Faculty of Health Sciences Outstanding Postdoctoral Achievement Award, McMaster University
2015 - Oncolytic Virus Conference Travel Award
2012 - American Society of Virology Travel Award
2008 - Recipient of Dr. Douglas W. Ehresmann Award, UPEI, Canada
2004 - 2006 - NORAD Graduate Student Fellowship, University of Tromso, Norway
Cytokines in oncolytic virotherapy. Pol JG, Workenhe ST, Konda P, Gujar S, Kroemer G.Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2020 Dec;56:4-27. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2020.10.007.
Tumor-intrinsic determinants of immunogenic cell death modalities. Workenhe ST, Pol J, Kroemer G.Oncoimmunology. 2021 Mar 2;10(1):1893466. doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2021.1893466.
TRIM26 Facilitates HSV-2 Infection by Downregulating Antiviral Responses through the IRF3 Pathway. Dhawan T, Zahoor MA, Heryani N, Workenhe ST, Nazli A, Kaushic C.Viruses. 2021 Jan 6;13(1):70. doi: 10.3390/v13010070.
Immune checkpoint blockade in triple negative breast cancer influenced by B cells through myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Vito A, Salem O, El-Sayes N, MacFawn IP, Portillo AL, Milne K, Harrington D, Ashkar AA, Wan Y, Workenhe ST, Nelson BH, Bruno TC, Mossman KL.Commun Biol. 2021 Jul 12;4(1):859. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-02375-9.
De novo necroptosis creates an inflammatory environment mediating tumor susceptibility to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Workenhe ST, Nguyen A, Bakhshinyan D, Wei J, Hare DN, MacNeill KL, Wan Y, Oberst A, Bramson JL, Nasir JA, Vito A, El-Sayes N, Singh SK, McArthur AG, Mossman KL. Commun Biol. 2020 Nov 4;3(1):645.
Search PubMed for additional publications by Dr. Workenhe.