Professor  |  Medical Biophysics Chair

Thomas Kislinger

PhD, Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen, Germany

Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower
MaRS Centre, 101 College Street, Room 9-807, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1L8
Research Interests
Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy, Cancer Mechanisms and Models, Data Science and Computational Biology

At A Glance

  • Focus of the lab includes proteomics, mass spectrometry and cancer biology
  • Integration of multiple omics technology and focus on proteogenomics
  • Development of novel technologies for identification and quantification of novel surface proteins (membrane proteomics)
  • Translational research and close collaboration with clinicians to develop relevant biomarker signatures
  • Development of highly multiplexed proteomics quantification strategies for biomarker verification

Short Bio

Thomas Kislinger received his MSc in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Munich, Germany (1998). He completed his PhD in 2001, investigating the role of Advanced Glycation Endproducts in diabetic vascular complications at the University of Erlangen, Germany and Columbia University, New York. Between 2002 and 2006 he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto using shotgun proteomics to investigate organelle dynamics in mouse models of human disease. In 2006 he joined the Princess Margaret Cancer Center as an independent investigator. Dr. Kislinger holds positions as Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center and as Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Medical Biophysics. The research interests in the Kislinger lab are focused on the application of proteomics and computational tools to cancer biology and biomarker discovery. We are particularly interested in combining in-depth proteomics with chemistry, biochemistry and cell & molecular biology to gain novel insights into the function of poorly studied membrane proteins.

Research Synopsis

Cancer Proteomics: A major interest of our group is to use primary patient tissues and relevant model systems (cancer cell lines, organoids, PDX) in combination with advanced proteomics technologies to gain novel mechanistic insights into cancer biology. Our discoveries are further investigated using classic cell and molecular biology approaches. In addition, we are motivated to make impactful contributions to the emerging fields of integrated proteogenomics and cancer systems biology.

Cell Surface Mapping: Plasma membrane proteins are essential mediators of cell signaling and cellular communication. Due to their hydrophobicity and low abundance they have been traditionally underrepresented in proteomic analyses. Our group has been developing proteomics methods for the comprehensive analysis of the “surfaceome”. We have initiated a number of programs that comprehensively map the surfaceome of relevant cancer models with the goal to identify novel targets for antibody-drug conjugates and for functional investigations.

Cancer Biomarker Discovery & Targeted Quantification: Our lab has been among the first to utilize expressed prostatic secretions (EPS), a tissue proximal fluid, for the discovery of novel prostate cancer biomarkers. We rationalized that this fluid contains prostate secreted and shed proteins in significantly higher concentrations as compared to blood, hence enabling the detection of novel protein biomarker candidates. Relevant discoveries are then evaluated in urine samples from prostate cancer patients implementing a novel quantification approach, termed Parallel Reaction Monitoring Mass Spectrometry (PRM-MS).

Recent Publications

  • Sinha A, Huang V, Livingstone J, Wang J, Fox NS, Kurganovs N, Ignatchenko V, Fritsch K, Donmez N, Heisler LE, Shiah YJ, Yao CQ, Alfaro JA, Volik S, Lapuk A, Fraser M, Kron K, Murison A, Lupien M, Sahinalp C, Collins CC, Tetu B, Masoomian M, Berman DM, van der Kwast T, Bristow RG, Kislinger T*, Boutros PC*. The Proteogenomic Landscape of Curable Prostate Cancer. Cancer Cell. 2019 Mar 18;35(3):414-427. *co-senior authors
  • Cogger KF, Sinha A, Sarangi F, McGaugh EC, Saunders D, Dorrell C, Mejia-Guerrero S, Aghazadeh Y, Rourke JL, Screaton RA, Grompe M, Streeter PR, Powers AC, Brissova M, Kislinger T, Nostro MC. Glycoprotein 2 is a specific cell surface marker of human pancreatic progenitors. Nat Commun. 2017 Aug 24;8(1):331.
  • Alfaro JA, Ignatchenko A, Ignatchenko V, Sinha A, Boutros PC, Kislinger T. Detecting protein variants by mass spectrometry: a comprehensive study in cancer cell-lines. Genome Med. 2017 Jul 18;9(1):62.
  • Kim Y, Jeon J, Mejia S, Yao CQ, Ignatchenko V, Nyalwidhe JO, Gramolini AO, Lance RS, Troyer DA, Drake RR, Boutros PC, Semmes OJ, Kislinger T. Targeted proteomics identifies liquid-biopsy signatures for extracapsular prostate cancer. Nat Commun. 2016 Jun 28;7:11906.
  • Sharma P, Abbasi C, Lazic S, Teng AC, Wang D, Dubois N, Ignatchenko V, Wong V, Liu J, Araki T, Tiburcy M, Ackerley C, Zimmermann WH, Hamilton R, Sun Y, Liu PP, Keller G, Stagljar I, Scott IC, Kislinger T, Gramolini AO. Evolutionarily conserved intercalated disc protein Tmem65 regulates cardiac conduction and connexin 43 function. Nat Commun. 2015 Sep 25;6:8391. *co-senior authors
  • Alfaro JA, Sinha A, Kislinger T, Boutros PC. Onco-proteogenomics: cancer proteomics joins forces with genomics. Nat Methods. 2014 Nov;11(11):1107-13. *co-senior authors

View Dr. Kislinger's profile on Google Scholar.

Graduate Students

Meinusha Govindarajan
Annie Ha
Amanda Khoo
Ximing Li (co-supervisor with Dr. Tikhonova)
Lydia Liu