Korbelik, Mladen

Korbelik, Mladen

BSc, MSc, PhD (Zagreb)

Academic Rank(s): Clinical Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UBC | Emeritus Scientist

Affiliation(s): BCCA/BCCRC

Research and Scholarly Interests: Cancer, Infectious Diseases and Immunology Microbiology, Knowledge translation, Molecular Pathology and Cell Biology, Tumor biology, Photodynamic therapy, Cancer immunotherapy, Radiobiology, Experimental oncology

Clinical Interests:

Short Bio

Upon completion of his PhD in Biology in 1979 at the University of Zagreb, Dr. Mladen Korbelik moved to Vancouver to undertake post-doctoral fellowship training at the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre. He subsequently was brought into the organization’s scientific staff and has been working on his own independent research program with the BC Cancer Agency for over 25 years now. Dr. Korbelik is presently a Distinguished Scientist in the Department of Integrative Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency. He is a Board Member and a Founding Fellow of the PanAmerican Photodynamic Association. He is also on the Directorship Board of International Photodynamic Association.



Academic Background

  • PhD (Biology), University of Zagreb, Croatia, 1979
  • MSc (Experimental Biology), University of Zagreb, Croatia, 1974
  • BSc (Chemistry), University of Zagreb, Croatia, 1970

Awards and Recognition


Selected Publications

  • Korbelik, M., Banáth, J., Canals, D., Hannun, Y.A., Separovic, D.: Ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate act as photodynamic therapy-elicited damage-associated molecular patterns: Cell surface exposure. Int. Immunopharmacol., 20: 359-365, 2014.
  • Korbelik, M., Banáth, J., Zhang, W., Wong, F., Bielawski, J., Separovic, D.: Ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate/sphingosine act as photodynamic therapy-elicited damage-associated molecular patterns: Release from cells and impact on tumor-associated macrophages. J Anal Bioanal Tech S1: 009, 2014 (doi: 10.4172/2155-9872.S1-009).
  • Kepp, O., Senovilla, L., Vitale, I., Vacchelli, E., Adjemian, S., Agostinis, P., Apetoh, L., Aranda, F., Barnaba, V., Bloy, N., Bracci, L., Breckpot, K., Brough, D., Baque, A., Castro, M.G., Cirone, M., Colombo, M.I., Cremer, I., Demaria, S., Dini, L., Eliopoulos, A., Faggioni, A., Forment, S.C., Fučikova, J., Gabriele, L., Gaipl, U.S., Galon, J., Garg, A., Ghiringhelli, F., Giese, N.A., Guo, Z.S., Hemminki, A., Herrmann, M., Hodge, J.W., Holdenrieder, S., Honeychurch, J., Hu, H.-M., Huang, X., 2014
  • Boppana, NB, Kodiha, M., Stochaj, U., Lin, H.-S., Haimovitz-Friedman, A., Bielawska, A., Bielawski, J., Divine, G.W., Boyd, J.A., Korbelik, M., Separovic, D.: Ceramide synthase inhibitor fumonisin B inhibits apoptotic cell death in SCC17B human head and neck squamous carcinoma cells after Pc4 photosensitization. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci, 2014 (in press).
  • Lucas, L.J., Chen, X.K., Smith, A.J., Korbelik, M., Zeng, H., Lee, P.W.K., Hewitt, K.C.: Aggregation of nanoparticles in endosomes and lysosomes produce surface enhance Raman spectroscopy. J. Nanoparticles, 2014 (submitted).
  • Korbelik, M., Banáth, J., Saw, K.M., Zhang, W., Čiplys, E.: Calreticulin as cancer treatment adjuvant: combination with photodynamic therapy and photodynamic therapy-generated vaccines. Frontiers in Tumor Oncology (submission October 2014).
  • Korbelik, M., Zhang, W., Saw, K.M., Szulc, Z.M., Bielawska, A. and Separovic, D.: Cationic ceramides and analogues, LCL30 and LCL85, as adjuvants to photodynamic therapy of tumors. J. Photochem. Photobiol. B:Biol. 126: 72-77, 2013.
  • Separovic, D., Breen, P., Boppana, N.B., Van Buren, E., Joseph, N., Kraveka J.M., Rahmaniyan, M, Li, L., Gudz, T.I., Bielawska, A., Bai, A., Bielawski, J., Pierce, J.S., Korbelik, M.: Increased killing of SCCVII squamous cell carcinoma cells after the combination of Pc 4 photodynamic therapy and dasatinib is associated with enhanced caspase-3 activity and ceramide synthase 1 upregulation. Int. J. Oncol. 43: 2064-2072, 2013 (doi: 10.3892/ijo.2013.2132).
  • Korbelik, M., Madiyalakan, R., Woo, T. and Haddadi, A.: Antitumor efficacy of photodynamic therapy using novel nanoformulations of hypocrellin photosensitizer SL052. Photochem. Photobiol., 88: 188-193, 2012.
  • Korbelik, M. and Merchant, S.: Photodynamic therapy-generated cancer vaccine elicits acute phase and hormonal response in treated mice. Cancer Immunol. Immunother., 61: 1387-1394, 2012.

Research Interest

  • Cell biology
  • Tumor biology
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • Radiobiology
  • Experimental oncology
  • (PDT) Photodynamic Therapy: My laboratory is involved in pre-clinical studies aimed at improving therapy of solid cancers. A major focus is on the investigation of the mechanism of antitumor effects of photodynamic therapy (PDT). This novel type of cancer treatment (which is now a regulatory approved clinical modality) is still under intense development. The research in my laboratory has contributed to the understanding of photosensitizer (i.e. phototoxic drug used for PDT) accumulation in tumors, particularly the role of serum proteins, tumor vasculature and tumor associated macrophages in this event. Our work has shown that PDT treatment of solid cancers elicits a strong host response, which contributes to the therapy outcome. We are studying the role of the engaged inflammatory effector systems, including neutrophils, complement and coagulation/fibrinolytic cascades.

Clinical Service

Current Projects In My Lab Include


Teaching Interest