• Maxwell, Christopher Alan

    Investigator, Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program, BC Children's Hospital
    Co-Lead, Childhood Cancer & Blood Research Group, BC Children’s Hospital

    Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
    Scientist, Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program

    Degrees / Designations
    Primary Area of Research
    Childhood Diseases
    Secondary Area(s) of Research
    604-875-2000 ext. 4691
    Lab Phone
    Mailing Address

    BC Children's Hospital Research Institute
    Room 3086
    950 West 28th Avenue
    Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4

    Affiliate Websites
    Research Areas
    • Cell division, cell polarity, cell differentiation
    • Childhood cancer
    • Hereditary cancer
    • Cancer predisposition syndromes

    We all arose from one fertilized egg cell; in the precise and correct ratios, ~50 trillion cells arose from the division of one primitive cell. This requires incredible balance- too many divisions of the same clone equals cancer. The division of primitive cells that reside in human tissues must also strike this balance. By studying how molecules work together during the division of these cells, my group hopes to better detect, monitor, and treat the childhood and hereditary cancers that arise as a result of too many cell divisions and inflict 1,400 kids and 2,200 young adults each year in Canada.

    Current Projects

    The objectives for my research program are to more completely understand cell division at a molecular level and apply that knowledge to the study of cells that maintain the growth and development of the human brain and breast. We focus on a small set of key genes and study how their products are involved in human development and cancer using a variety of systems, including cells that grow indefinitely in the lab, mice, flies, and human tissues from both healthy and diseased individuals.

    Selected Publications

    For the latest publications, please visit Dr. Maxwell’s ORCID profile.

    Connell M*, Chen H*, Jiang J, Kuan CW, Fotovati A, Chu T, He Z, Lengyell TC, Li H, Kroll T, Li AM, Goldowitz D, Frappart L, Ploubidou A, Patel M, Pilarski LM,Simpson EM, Lange P, Allan DW, Maxwell CA. HMMR acts in the PLK1-dependent spindle positioning pathway and supports neural development. Elife. 2017 Oct10;6. pii: e28672. doi: 10.7554/eLife.28672. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:28994651.

    Chu TLH*, Connell M*, Zhou L, He Z, Won JR, Rahavi SM, Chen H, Mohan P,Nemirovsky O, Fotovati A, Pujana MA, Reid GS, Nielsen TO, Pante N, Maxwell CA. Cell Cycle-dependent Tumor Engraftment and Migration are Enabled by Aurora A. Mol Cancer Res. 2017 Oct 9. pii: molcanres.0417.2017. doi:10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-17-0417. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28993511.

    He Z*, Kannan N*, Nemirovsky O, Chen H, Connell M, Taylor B, Jiang J, Pilarski LM, Fleisch MC, Niederacher D, Pujana MA, Eaves CJǂ, Maxwell CAǂ. BRCA1 controls the cell division axis and governs ploidy and phenotype in human mammary cells. Oncotarget. 2017 May 16;8(20):32461-32475. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.15688. PMID: 28427147;

    van Netten JP, Cann SH, Thornton I, Finegan RP, Maxwell C. Anti-angiogenic treatment for breast cancer? 
    Cancer Treat Rev. 2017 Apr;55:230. doi:10.1016/j.ctrv.2017.02.008. PMID: 28320564.

    Invited Chapter, Review, Book
    Guo M, Mei L, Maxwell CA. Genetic instability in: Cancer Hallmarks (editor: Pierotti M). Encyclopedia of Cancer, 3rd edition, 2017 Elsevier

    Ferguson LR, Chen H, Collins AR, Connell M, […], Maxwell CA. Genomic instability in human cancer: 
    Molecular insights and opportunities for therapeutic attack and prevention through diet and nutrition. Semin Cancer Biol. 
    2015 Dec;35 Suppl:S5-S24. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2015.03.005. PubMed PMID: 25869442

    Maxwell C, Roskelley C (editors). Genomic instability and cancer metastasis: Mechanisms, emerging themes, and novel therapeutic strategies. 2015 series: Cancer Metastasis- Biology and Treatment, 20, Springer Sciences and Business Media Dordrecht. http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319121352


    The Maxwell lab is a member of the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research program. We currently receive research funding support from the following organizations: Avon Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Foundation. We are very grateful for their support.

    Honours & Awards

    2014-2019: New Investigator, NIC category, CIHR

    Research Group Members

    Jihong Jiang - Research Assistant
    Tony Chu- Graduate Student
    Meiyun Guo- Graduate Student
    Leo (Zhengcheng) He - Graduate Student
    Amanda Laurentzian- Graduate Student, co-supervised with Dr. P. Lange
    Lucy Mei- Graduate student
    Marisa Connell- (PDF, 2014-17)
    Helen Chen – (Ph.D., 2010-16; PDF, 2016-17)
    Oksana Nemirovsky (M.Sc., 2012-14)
    Pooja Mohan (M.Sc., 2010-13)