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Dr. Gregg B. Morin, PhD

Head of Proteomics, Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer

Phone 604-675-8154
Fax 604-678-8178


Senior Scientist, BC Cancer
Associate Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia 
Adjunct Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University

Professional Profile

As Head of the Proteomics Platform at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, Dr. Morin’s role is to advance mass spectrometry-based oncology research with other investigators at BC Cancer and other institutions. This includes developing proteomic methods for quantitative global proteome profiling of clinical and research samples, basic and aberrant protein function research, and the comprehensive analysis of post-translational modifications (e.g., phospho, ubiquitin, methyl, acetyl). His expertise is in advanced proteomics methods, biochemistry, and RNA processing.

Research Projects

Dr. Morin’s own laboratory research seeks to understand the functional mechanisms of somatically mutated or differentially expressed proteins in cancer pathology. The research integrates proteomic, genomic, chemical biology, and bioinformatic technologies with more traditional biochemical and molecular biology methodologies. The goal is to develop large scale integrative programs to understand the causes, and identify therapeutic targets, for multi-factorial diseases such as cancer. To learn more about Dr. Morin's research, read The Protein Link to Cancer, published in the BC Cancer Foundation Spring 2015 Partners in Discovery magazine.

The functions of most proteins are defined by or mediated through interactions with other proteins. These interactions are organized into complex networks regulated, in part, through modulation of protein phosphorylation by an elaborate interconnected system of kinases and phosphatases. Dr. Morin’s lab uses quantitative proteomic techniques to study how protein networks, protein-protein interactions, and post-translational modifications are aberrantly regulated in cancer

Aberrant RNA Processing in Cancer. 

A major research focus is the regulatory mechanisms of aberrant RNA processing in cancer, particularly the regulation of alternative pre-mRNA splicing and processing, and miRNA biogenesis. One program studies the properties of Cyclin Dependent Kinase 12 (CDK12) in breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers. CDK12 interacts with spliceosomal proteins, RNA Pol2, and RNA processing factors to coordinately regulate transcription elongation and termination, poly-adenylation, and spliceosome activity. Using global quantitative mass spectrometry and RNA-seq methods in CRISPR/Cas9 engineered isogenic cancer cell line models the roles and mechanisms of CDK12 in regulating RNA processing are studied. Using small molecule inhibitors of CDK12 kinase activity the biological functions of CDK12 and its direct cellular targets are probed. A second program studies the oncogenic mechanisms of somatic mutations in the miRNA processing enzyme DICER1 in a broad spectrum of rare developmental cancers. The mutations affect only the RNase IIIb subdomain of DICER1 to abolish expression of 5P miRNAs. Isogenic cell lines and engineered mouse models are used to study mutant Dicer function.

Proteomic and Genomic Collaborative Projects. 

Dr. Morin heads the operation of the GSC/BC Cancer Proteomics Platform which uses state-of-the-art mass spectrometry instrumentation housed in the Mass Spectrometry Instrument Suite. The Platform staff and Dr. Morin collaborate with more than 40 BC Cancer, local, and non-local cancer researchers to study the mechanistic and functional roles of proteins implicated in a wide variety of cancers. These projects use global and targeted proteomic techniques integrated with genomic methods, such as RNA-seq and ChIP-seq in cancer cell lines, isogenic cell line models, and murine model systems to study aberrant protein function in multiple cancer types. The Platform has developed an ultrasensitive global proteome profiling method for the analysis of very small amounts of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) clinical tumour samples. This protocol is being widely used to identify histotype specific biological processes and proteins to find candidate biomarkers and therapeutically targetable proteins and pathways.

Publications and patents

Dr. Gregg Morin has coauthored >70 publications (including reviews) that have been cited >19,000 times, and has 64 issued patents worldwide (37 in USA) related to his telomerase research.

Gregg Morin Google Scholar