Vanderhyden Lab

Barbara Vanderhyden profile picture

Contact Information

Barbara Vanderhyden, PhD
613-737-7700 ext. 70330
bvanderhyden@ohri.ca

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Centre for Cancer Therapeutics
501 Smyth Road
Box 926
Ottawa, ON K1H 8L6

Barbara Vanderhyden

Senior Scientist, Cancer Therapeutics Program
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Corinne Boyer Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research
University of Ottawa
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Ottawa

Research Interests

The Vanderhyden laboratory has a long-standing interest in normal ovarian function and the molecular changes that occur in the transition from normal epithelium to ovarian cancer, and the subsequent progression and metastasis of ovarian cancer. One key aim of our work is to examine the cellular plasticity and genetic alterations that are oncogenic in oviductal and ovarian surface epithelium. We are exploring how certain risk factors, like age, ovulation and hormones, affect the stem/progenitor cells in those tissues and their susceptibility to transformation into cancer cells. We are also determining how those risk factors affect the ovarian microenvironment and underlying mechanisms that contribute to the creation of a more tumour-permissive niche. 

To facilitate our work, we have generated numerous models of ovarian cancer using a variety of strategies, including cell-specific expression of oncogenic signals, the Cre-lox system for conditional expression, and intra-bursal injection of adenoviral vectors. Consequently, we use several model systems in our research, including primary cell cultures and cell lines, transgenic and syngeneic mouse models of ovarian cancer, and human ovarian tumours and ascites. These models are currently being used to investigate the early events associated with tumour initiation, to determine the impact of risk factors such as BRCA1 mutation and hormones on disease progression, and to test novel therapeutics, including targeted therapies, oncolytic viruses and vaccines.

Brief Biography

Barbara Vanderhyden completed her Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology at the University of Western Ontario in 1988. She then did postdoctoral studies at The Jackson Laboratory in Maine, where she learned to climb mountains, both literally and scientifically. In 1991, she joined the Cancer Research Group at the University of Ottawa, which has evolved into the Cancer Therapeutics Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, where she is a Senior Scientist. Dr. Vanderhyden is also a Professor at the University of Ottawa and has held the inaugural Corinne Boyer Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research since 2000. She established and ran the university’s transgenic mouse facility for 14 years. In her spare time, she established and oversees two science outreach programs, Let’s Talk Science / Parlons sciences, which makes science fun for students in local schools, and Science Travels / La science voyage, which sends teams of grad students to deliver science workshops in remote First Nations and Inuit communities in the far north.

Selected Publications

Hodgkinson K, LA Forrest, N Vuong, K Garson, B Djordjevic, and BC Vanderhyden. (2018). GREB1 is a novel estrogen receptor-regulated tumour promoter that is frequently expressed in ovarian cancer. Oncogene Jul 4. doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0377-y. [Epub ahead of print]

Rodriguez GM, Galpin KJC, McCloskey CW and Vanderhyden BC (2018). The tumor microenvironment of epithelial ovarian cancer and its influence on response to immunotherapy. Cancers (Basel). 10(8). pii: E242. doi: 10.3390/cancers10080242. 

McCloskey CW, Rodriguez GM, Galpin KJC and Vanderhyden BC (2018). Ovarian cancer immunotherapy: Preclinical models and emerging therapeutics. Cancers (Basel). 10(8). pii: E244. doi: 10.3390/cancers10080244.

Vuong NH, O Salah Salah, and BC Vanderhyden (2017). 17β-Estradiol sensitizes ovarian surface epithelium to transformation by suppressing Dab2 expression. Scientific Reports 7: 16,702.

Alwosaibai K, A Abedini, EM Al-Hujaily, Y Tang, K Garson, O Collins and BC Vanderhyden (2017). PAX2 maintains the differentiation of oviductal epithelium and inhibits the transition to a stem cell-like state. Oncotarget 8: 76,881-76,897.

Diseases, conditions and populations of interest


Cancer; Infertility; Ovarian cancer; Women's health



Research and clinical approaches


Basic research; Bioinformatics; Biomarkers; Disease models; Drug development; Epigenetics; Epigenetics; Gene expression; Genomics; Immunotherapy; Model organisms; Molecular and cellular biology; Stem cells; Transgenic/knockout models; Translational research; Viral therapy