Academic Rank:
Professor, UBC
Vancouver Prostate Centre
Short Bio:

Dr. Samuel Aparicio (BM, BCh, PhD, FRCPath) is the Nan & Lorraine Robertson Chair in Breast Cancer Research, holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Molecular Oncology, and is the recipient of the 2014 Aubrey J Tingle Prize. He is also Head of the BCCA’s Department of Breast and Molecular Oncology, and a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC.

Dr. Aparicio graduated in medical and natural sciences from Cambridge University (UK), clinical medicine from Oxford, and subsequently in internal medicine and pathology. After doctoral work with Sydney Brenner in Cambridge he held a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship at the Wellcome/CRUK Developmental Biology Institute. From 2000-2005 he was a senior investigator in the Department of Oncology, Cambridge. He was a co-leader of the international consortium that sequenced the genome of the pufferfish Fugu rubripes in 2002. He moved to Vancouver in 2005.

Dr. Aparicio’s research program encompasses the fields of cancer genomics, mouse genetic models, high throughput screens, small molecule chemical probes and translational breast cancer research. His most recent work on the molecular taxonomy of breast cancer led to identification of new genes that could change the way breast cancer is diagnosed, and form the basis of next-generation treatments. This discovery was preceded by another breakthrough in decoding the genetic makeup of the most-deadly form of breast cancer, known as triple negative subtype. Dr. Aparicio is also working to develop quantitative measures of clonal fitness in patients, including methods for single cell genome sequencing and PDX models of human cancer. He collaborates widely with other groups, with current projects including the genomic and biochemical analysis of lymphoma, ovarian cancer, and several rare pediatric cancers. He was a co-founder of Paradigm Therapeutics (now, Takeda Cambridge) and currently Contextual Genomics Ltd.

His contributions to academic research have been widely published in scientific and clinical journals such as Nature, Science, Cell and the New England Journal of Medicine. He is the recipient of numerous awards from academic as well as industrial institutions.

Other affiliations:
Faculty member, UBC Genome Science and Technology Graduate Program
Associate member, UBC Department of Medical Genetics
Associate member, UBC CIHR/MSFHR Bioinformatics Program
Associate member, Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre

Publications (Link to Pubmed)

BC Cancer Foundation blog

saparicio [at] bccrc [dot] ca

Follow on twitter: @sajraparicio

Read news from the Aparicio Lab here.


Academic background

  • Royal College of Pathologists, MRC Pathology. May 2004
  • PhD, University of Cambridge, UK. 1995
  • MA, University of Cambridge, UK (Comparative gene regulation). 1988
  • BM BCh, University of Oxford, UK (Clinical Medicine). 1988
  • BA, University of Cambridge, UK (Natural and Medical Sciences). 1985/12

Research Interest

  • Breast cancer genome sequencing
    Discovery of novel gene mutations
  • Breast cancer xenografts
    Pre-clinical models of breast tumour biology and drug response
  • Cancer epigenetics
    Investigation of non-sequence changes to tumour cell DNA
  • Characterisation of normal and cancerous mammary stem cells  Discovery of genes involved in stem cell proliferation and differentiation
  • Genetic heterogeneity within breast tumours and single cell genomics  Identification and characterisation of tumour cell subpopulations
  • Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells  Development of novel methods to help move iPS cells into the clinic
  • Mammographic density and columnar cell lesions of the breast  Investigation of the connection between common breast cell abnormalities and the higher risk of tumour development in dense breast tissue
    Molecular classification of breast cancer subtypes
  • Screening the human genome for genes involved in breast cancer  Discovery of novel gene-gene and gene-drug interactions