McMaster University

Stem Cell and Cancer
Research Institute

Scope of Search

Eva Szabo

ScientistKristin Hope

McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and Department of Medicine (Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism)

Research Overview

The Szabo lab focuses on dissecting the functional, molecular and genetic interplay between adipocyte development (from adult and pluripotent sources) and metabolic disease pathogenesis. Adipose tissue dysfunction and abnormal preadipocyte proliferation and differentiation results in obesity and increases the chance of developing type II diabetes and cancers. Moreover, adipocytes were shown to posses the capacity to alter pharmacokinetics and/or induce drug resistance by secretion of adipokines. Thus, understanding human adipose tissue development and underlying mechanism of aberrant adipocyte regulation may provide novel therapeutic targets for management of obesity, diabetes and cancers.

Current projects include: 1. Establishment of a robust differentiation system to study both white and brown adipocyte development in humans, as well as disease models for obesity and type II diabetes that can be utilized for understanding these devastating diseases and development of new treatment strategies; 2. Development of human preadipocyte models for the characterization of cellular and molecular event involved in preadipocyte generation providing a method for studying the mechanisms underlying normal and excessive adipose tissue development and establishment of novel drug screening platforms. Projects within the lab encompass human embryonic and adult stem cell, hiPSC and direct reprogramming technologies to address the link between adipocyte development and metabolic diseases or neoplastic transformation/maintenance.

Education / Training

2008 - 2012 — Postdoctoral Fellow, Stem Cell & Cancer Research Institute, McMaster University
2003 - 2007 — Ph.D, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto
1999 - 2003 — M.Sc, Department of Biology, York University
1995 - 1999 — B.Sc Honours, York University

Honours and Awards

Year Description
2010 - 2012 MITACS Strategic Postdoctoral Fellowship
2011 MITACS Postdoctoral Award for Outstanding Research Achievement
2009 - 2010 Ministry of Research and Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowship
2003 - 2007 University of Toronto IMS Open Fellowship
2005 - 2006 Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada - OGSST
2003 - 2004 University of Toronto Continuing Student Fellowship
1996 - 1997 Mount Sinai Volunteering Award for over 500 hours of volunteering
1995 - 1996 York University Entrance and Science Scholarship

Selected Publications

  • Lee JH, Lee JB, Shapovalova Z, Fiebig-Comyn A, Mitchell RR, Laronde S, Szabo E, Benoit YD, Bhatia M. Somatic transcriptome priming gates lineage-specific differentiation potential of human-induced pluripotent stem cell states. Nature Communications. 2014 Dec 3; 5:5605. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6605. PMID: 25465724

  • Mitchell RR, Szabo E, Shapovalova Z, Aslostovar L, Makando K, Bhatia M. Molecular evidence for Oct-4 induced plasticity in adult human fibroblasts required for direct cell fate conversion to lineage- specific progenitors. Stem Cells. 2014 Apr 16. doi: 10.1002/stem.1721. Epub ahead of print, PMID: 24740884

  • Mitchell RR, Szabo E, Case DT, Lee JH, Lee JB, McNicol J, Alamilla J, Gillespie D, Fiebig-Comyn A, Bhatia M. Activation of neural cell fate programs towards direct conversion of adult human fibroblasts to tri-potent neural progenitors using Oct-4. Stem Cells and Development. 2014 Apr 2. EPub ahead of print. PMID: 24694094

  • Risueño RM, Sachlos E, Lee JH,  Lee JB, Hong SH, Szabo E, Bhatia M. Inability of human iPSC-hematopoietic derivatives to downregulate miRNAs in vivo reveals a block in xenograft hematopoietic regeneration. Stem Cells. 2012 30(2): 131-139. doi: 10.1002/stem.1684.

  • Szabo E, Rampalli S, Risueño RM, Schnerch A, Mitchell R, Fiebig-Comyn A, Levadoux-Martin M, and Bhatia M. Direct conversion of human fibroblasts to multilineage blood progenitors. Nature. 2010 Nov; 468(7323):521-6. doi:10.1038/nature09591. Epub 2010 Nov 7.

  • Vijayaragavan K, Szabo E, Bossé M, Ramos-Mejia V, Moon R, Bhatia M. Noncanonical Wnt Signaling Orchestrates Early Developmental Events toward Hematopoietic Cell Fate from Human Embryonic Stem Cells. Cell Stem Cell  2009 Mar. Vol 4 (3), pg 248-62. doi:10.1016/j.stem.2008.12.011.

[Eva Szabo's publications on Pub Med]


Year Description
2012 - Present Chair of Stem Cell Network Training and Communications Committee
2012 - Present Stem Cell Network Research Management Committee Member
2011 - Present Editorial Board member of ISRN Cell Biology
2011 - 2012 Stem Cell Network Training and Communications Committee Member
2011 - Present Stem Cell Network Training and Education Committee Member
2011 - Present MITACS Scientific Review Committee Member
2008 - Present The Connolly Memorial OSOTF Award Committee Member
2008 - 2012 Co-Chair of the McMaster University FHS Post-doctoral Fellow's Asosciation