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Sheila Singh

Sheila Singh

Principal Investigator

Canada Research Chair in Human Cancer Stem Cell Biology

Director, McMaster Surgeon-Scientist Program

Contact Information

Location: MDCL 5027


“You see a lot of things in pediatric neurosurgery and all of them — good and bad — inspire my research.  And every person who works with me has a direct connection to the ‘Why?’ of research.  Very often patients and their families will come for a tour of the lab and my people get to meet them.  There is a real connection. People in my lab work twice as hard because they have that direct motivation."

Dr. Sheila Singh’s research program is dedicated to applying a developmental neurobiology approach to the study of human brain tumours. As a pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Singh is acutely aware of the needs of patients and clinicians dealing with these diseases. Her unique perspective as a surgeon-scientist guides her research questions and areas of focus.

The three types of tumours studied by Dr. Singh’s lab are glioblastoma, medulloblastoma and brain metastases. The lab employs a stem cell biology framework to the study of these cancers to identify and target the molecular mechanisms responsible for their development. Their goal is to determine which treatment refractory cells are leading to relapse and recurrence in patients.

Ultimately, Dr. Singh’s goal is to be able to take more targeted and effective therapies back to the clinic. To ensure that all of their findings have the potential to be clinically relevant, the Singh lab has cultivated a specialty in developing pre-clinical models and are steadfast in their commitment to working with brain tumour samples direct from human patients.


Demonstrating the ability of the Wnt pathway to suppress tumour progression in childhood medulloblastoma, thus establishing activated Wnt signaling as a novel treatment paradigm.

Targeting STAT3 may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for patients with group 3 and recurrent group 3 medulloblastoma.

Providing the foundation for devising clinical trials to further investigate PTC-028 as a therapeutic option for the treatment of recurrent medulloblastoma.

Identifying novel therapeutics that block the metastatic process and validating the predictive ability of our brain metastases signature

A promising lead panel of biotherapeutic modalities will ultimately be translated into early clinical development, generating targeted therapies for glioblastoma patients.

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Lab Team

Picture Name Designation Focus Email More Info
Ashley Adile Ashley Adile Graduate Student
Nikoo Aghaei Nikoo Aghaei Graduate Student
Blessing Bassey Blessing Bassey Post-Doctoral Fellow
Chirayu Chokshi Chirayu Chokshi Graduate Student
Stefan Custers Stefan Custers Graduate Student
William Gwynne William Gwynne Post-Doctoral Fellow
Agata Kieliszek Agata Kieliszek Graduate Student
Fred Lam Fred Lam Post-Doctoral Fellow
William Maich William Maich Graduate Student
Dillon McKenna Dillon McKenna Technical Staff
Sabra Salim Sabra Salim Graduate Student
Neil Savage Neil Savage Graduate Student
Mathieu Seyfrid Mathieu Seyfrid Post-Doctoral Fellow
Nazanin Tatari Nazanin Tatari Graduate Student
Deepak Upreti Deepak Upreti Post-Doctoral Fellow
Chitra Venugopal Chitra Venugopal Research Associate

Selected Publications

Pyrvinium Targets CD133 in Human Glioblastoma Brain Tumor-Initiating Cells.

Venugopal C, Hallett R, Vora P, Manoranjan B, Mahendram S, Qazi MA, McFarlane N, Subapanditha M, Nolte SM, Singh M, Bakhshinyan D, Garg N, Vijayakumar T, Lach B, Provias JP, Reddy K, Murty NK, Doble BW, Bhatia M, Hassell JA, Singh SK.

Clinical Cancer Research. 2015 Dec 1;21(23):5324-37.

A cancer stem cell model for studying brain metastases from primary lung cancer.

Nolte SM, Venugopal C, McFarlane N, Morozova O, Hallett RM, O'Farrell E, Manoranjan B, Murty NK, Klurfan P, Kachur E, Provias JP, Farrokhyar F, Hassell JA, Marra M, Singh SK.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2013 Apr 17;105(8):551-62.

FoxG1 interacts with Bmi1 to regulate self-renewal and tumorigenicity of medulloblastoma stem cells.

Manoranjan B, Wang X, Hallett RM, Venugopal C, Mack SC, McFarlane N, Nolte SM, Scheinemann K, Gunnarsson T, Hassell JA, Taylor MD, Lee C, Triscott J, Foster CM, Dunham C, Hawkins C, Dunn SE, Singh SK.

Stem Cells. 2013 Jul;31(7):1266-77.

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