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.


Targetable lesions and proteomes predict therapy sensitivity through disease evolution in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Nature Communications
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-42701-9

Pathogenic BRCA1 variants disrupt PLK1-regulation of mitotic spindle orientation
Nature Communications
Z He, R Ghorayeb, S Tan, K Chen, AC Lorentzian, J Bottyan, SM Musheer Aalam, MA Pujana, PF Lange, N Kannan, CJ Eaves, CA Maxwell
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29885-2

Modification of BRCA1-associated breast cancer risk by HMMR overexpression
Nature Communications
F Mateo*, Z He*, L Mei*, G Ruiz de Garibay, C Herranz, N Garcia, A Lorentzian, A Baiges, E Blommaert, A Gomez, O Mirallas, A Garrido-Utrilla, L Palomero, R Espin, AI Extremera, MT Soler-Monso, A Petit, R Li, J Brunet, K Chen, S Tan, CJ Eaves, C McCloskey, R Hakem, R Khokha, PF Lange, C Lazaro, CA Maxwell** and MA Pujana** **senior authors
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29335-z

A Model of Differential Mammary Growth Initiation by Stat3 and Asymmetric Integrin-a6 Inheritance.
Cell reports
Morris EJ**, Gillespie JA, Maxwell CA** and Dedhar S** **senior authors
DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.02.079
PubMed: 32187533

The Eµ-Ret mouse is a novel model of hyperdiploid B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Farrokhi A and Tanmaya Atre and Jenna Rever and Fidanza M and Duey W and Samuel Salitra and Myung J and Guo M and Sumin Jo and Uzozie A and Fatemeh (Shakiba) Baharvand and Nina Rolf and Franziska Auer and Hauer J and Stephan Grupp and Eydoux P and Philipp F. Lange and Alix Seif and Christoper A. Maxwell and Gregor Reid
DOI: 10.1038/s41375-024-02221-x
PubMed: 38519798

Adaptation of the Th-MYCN Mouse Model of Neuroblastoma for Evaluation of Disseminated Disease
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Seyed M. Rahavi and Maryam Aletaha and Ali Farrokhi and Amanda Lorentzian and Philipp F. Lange and Christopher A. Maxwell and Chinten James Lim and Gregor S. D. Reid
DOI: 10.3390/ijms241512071

Centrosome Amplification Is a Potential Molecular Target in Paediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Meiyun Guo and Jenna Rever and Phuong N.U. Nguyen and Neha M. Akella and Gregor S. D. Reid and Christoper A. Maxwell
DOI: 10.3390/cancers15010154

A cross-standardized flow cytometry platform to assess phenotypic stability in B-ALL xenografts.
Cytometry. Part A : the journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology
Rolf N, Liu LYT, Tsang A, Lange PF, Lim CJ, Maxwell CA, Vercauteren SM, Reid GSD
DOI: 10.1002/cyto.a.24473
PubMed: 34128309

PDX models reflect the proteome landscape of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia but divert in select pathways.
Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR
DOI: 10.1186/s13046-021-01835-8
PubMed: 33722259

Diet as a Potential Moderator for Genome Stability and Immune Response in Pediatric Leukemia
Shanshan Wang and Chris Maxwell and Neha Manjari Akella
DOI: 10.3390/cancers13030413

Hyaluronan Mediated Motility Receptor (HMMR) Encodes an Evolutionarily Conserved Homeostasis, Mitosis, and Meiosis Regulator Rather than a Hyaluronan Receptor
Zhengcheng He and Lin Mei and Marisa Connell and Chris Maxwell
DOI: 10.3390/cells9040819

FAM83D directs protein kinase CK1a to the mitotic spindle for proper spindle positioning.
EMBO reports
Fulcher LJ, He Z, Mei L, Macartney TJ, Wood NT, Prescott AR, Whigham AJ, Varghese J, Gourlay R, Ball G, Clarke R, Campbell DG, Maxwell CA, Sapkota GP
DOI: 10.15252/embr.201847495
PubMed: 31338967

Genetic Instability
Encyclopedia of Cancer (3rd edition)
M Guo*, L Mei*, CA Maxwell
DOI: 10.1016/b978-0-12-801238-3.65013-4

Tumor Variant Identification That Accounts for the Unique Molecular Landscape of Pediatric Malignancies.
Jnci Cancer Spectrum
Lorentzian A, Biegel JA, Ostrow DG, Rolf N, Liu CC, Rassekh SR, Deyell RJ, Triche T, Schultz KR, Rozmus J, Reid GSD, Lim CJ, Lange PF** and Maxwell CA** **senior authors
DOI: 10.1093/jncics/pky079
PubMed: 30976750

CD44-mediated hyaluronan binding marks proliferating hematopoietic progenitor cells and promotes bone marrow engraftment.
PloS one
Lee-Sayer SSM, Dougan MN, Cooper J, Sanderson L, Dosanjh M, Maxwell CA, Johnson P
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196011
PubMed: 29684048

The non-motor adaptor HMMR dampens Eg5-mediated forces to preserve the kinetics and integrity of chromosome segregation.
Molecular biology of the cell
Chen H, Connell M, Mei L, Reid GSD, Maxwell CA
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E17-08-0531
PubMed: 29386294

Hyaluronan-binding by CD44 reduces the memory potential of activated murine CD8 T cells.
European journal of immunology
Lee-Sayer SSM, Maeshima N, Dougan MN, Dahiya A, Arif AA, Dosanjh M, Maxwell CA, Johnson P
DOI: 10.1002/eji.201747263
PubMed: 29315518

Cell Cycle-Dependent Tumor Engraftment and Migration Are Enabled by Aurora-A.
Molecular cancer research : MCR
Chu TLH*, Connell M*, Zhou L, He Z, Won J, Chen H, Rahavi SMR, Mohan P, Nemirovsky O, Fotovati A, Pujana MA, Reid GSD, Nielsen TO, Pante N, Maxwell CA
DOI: 10.1158/1541-7786.mcr-17-0417
PubMed: 28993511

HMMR acts in the PLK1-dependent spindle positioning pathway and supports neural development.
Connell M*, Chen H*, Jiang J, Kuan CW, Fotovati A, Chu TL , He Z, Lengyell TC, Li H, Kroll T, Li AM, Goldowitz D, Frappart L, Ploubidou A, Patel MS, Maxwell CA
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.28672
PubMed: 28994651

BRCA1 controls the cell division axis and governs ploidy and phenotype in human mammary cells.
He Z*, Kannan N*, Nemirovsky O, Chen H, Connell M, Taylor B, Jiang J, Pilarski LM, Fleisch MC, Niederacher D, Pujana MA, Eaves CJ** and Maxwell CA** **senior authors
DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.15688
PubMed: 28427147

Anti-angiogenic treatment for breast cancer?
Cancer treatment reviews
van Netten JP and Cann SH and Thornton I and Finegan RP and Maxwell C
DOI: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2017.02.008
PubMed: 28320564

Designing a broad-spectrum integrative approach for cancer prevention and treatment.
Seminars in cancer biology
Block KI and Gyllenhaal C and Lowe L and Amedei A and Amin ARMR and Amin A and Aquilano K and Arbiser J and Arreola A and Arzumanyan A and Ashraf SS and Azmi AS and Benencia F and Zollo M
DOI: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2015.09.007
PubMed: 26590477

Genomic instability in human cancer: Molecular insights and opportunities for therapeutic attack and prevention through diet and nutrition.
Seminars in cancer biology
Ferguson LR and Chen H and Collins AR and Connell M and Damia G and Dasgupta S and Malhotra M and Meeker AK and Amedei A and Amin A and Ashraf SS and Aquilano K and Azmi AS and Bhakta D and Maxwell CA
DOI: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2015.03.005
PubMed: 25869442

Assessing associations between the AURKA-HMMR-TPX2-TUBG1 functional module and breast cancer risk in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers.
PloS one
Blanco I and Kuchenbaecker K and Cuadras D and Wang X and Barrowdale D and de Garibay GR and Librado P and Sánchez-Gracia A and Rozas J and Bonifaci N and McGuffog L and Pankratz VS and Pujana MA
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120020
PubMed: 25830658

Genomic Instability and Cancer Metastasis
Cancer Metastasis - Biology and Treatment
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-12136-9

YB-1 transforms human mammary epithelial cells through chromatin remodeling leading to the development of basal-like breast cancer.
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)
Davies AH and Reipas KM and Pambid MR and Berns R and Stratford AL and Fotovati A and Firmino N and Astanehe A and Hu K and Maxwell C and Mills GB and Dunn SE
DOI: 10.1002/stem.1707
PubMed: 24648416

Spatial regulation of Aurora A activity during mitotic spindle assembly requires RHAMM to correctly localize TPX2.
Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
Chen H and Mohan P and Jiang J and Nemirovsky O and He D and Fleisch MC and Niederacher D and Pilarski LM and Lim CJ and Maxwell CA
DOI: 10.4161/cc.29270
PubMed: 24875404

Tubers from patients with tuberous sclerosis complex are characterized by changes in microtubule biology through ROCK2 signalling.
The Journal of pathology
Ferrer I and Mohan P and Chen H and Castellsague J and Gómez-Baldó L and Carmona M and García N and Aguilar H and Jiang J and Skowron M and Nellist M and Ampuero I and Russi A and Pujana MA
DOI: 10.1002/path.4343
PubMed: 24604753

The Generation, Detection, and Prevention of Genomic Instability During Cancer Progression and Metastasis
Genomic Instability and Cancer Metastasis
Helen Chen and Christopher Maxwell and Marisa Connell
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-12136-9_2

The cytoskeletal protein RHAMM and ERK1/2 activity maintain the pluripotency of murine embryonic stem cells.
PloS one
Jiang J and Mohan P and Maxwell CA
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073548
PubMed: 24019927

Genomic imbalance of HMMR/RHAMM regulates the sensitivity and response of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour cells to aurora kinase inhibition.
Mohan P and Castellsague J and Jiang J and Allen K and Chen H and Nemirovsky O and Spyra M and Hu K and Kluwe L and Pujana MA and Villanueva A and Mautner VF and Keats JJ and Dunn SE and Maxwell CA
DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.793
PubMed: 23328114

Interplay between BRCA1 and RHAMM regulates epithelial apicobasal polarization and may influence risk of breast cancer.
PLoS biology
Maxwell CA and Benítez J and Gómez-Baldó L and Osorio A and Bonifaci N and Fernández-Ramires R and Costes SV and Guinó E and Chen H and Evans GJ and Mohan P and Català I and Petit A and Pujana MA
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001199
PubMed: 22110403

Exploring the link between MORF4L1 and risk of breast cancer.
Breast cancer research : BCR
Martrat G and Maxwell CM and Tominaga E and Porta-de-la-Riva M and Bonifaci N and Gómez-Baldó L and Bogliolo M and Lázaro C and Blanco I and Brunet J and Aguilar H and Pujana MA
DOI: 10.1186/bcr2862
PubMed: 21466675

YB-1 evokes susceptibility to cancer through cytokinesis failure, mitotic dysfunction and HER2 amplification.
Davies AH and Barrett I and Pambid MR and Hu K and Stratford AL and Freeman S and Berquin IM and Pelech S and Hieter P and Maxwell C and Dunn SE
DOI: 10.1038/onc.2011.82
PubMed: 21423216

Targeting tumour-initiating cells to improve the cure rates for triple-negative breast cancer.
Expert reviews in molecular medicine
Stratford AL and Reipas K and Maxwell C and Dunn SE
DOI: 10.1017/s1462399410001535
PubMed: 20653987

Multifunctional proteins bridge mitosis with motility and cancer with inflammation and arthritis.
Jiang J and Casalegno-Garduno R and Chen H and Schmitt A and Schmitt M and Maxwell CA
DOI: 10.1100/tsw.2010.141
PubMed: 20602082

TACC3-TSC2 maintains nuclear envelope structure and controls cell division.
Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
Gómez-Baldó L and Schmidt S and Maxwell CA and Bonifaci N and Gabaldón T and Vidalain PO and Senapedis W and Kletke A and Rosing M and Barnekow A and Rottapel R and Capellá G and Pujana MA
DOI: 10.4161/cc.9.6.11018
PubMed: 20237422

Biological convergence of cancer signatures.
PloS one
Solé X and Bonifaci N and López-Bigas N and Berenguer A and Hernández P and Reina O and Maxwell CA and Aguilar H and Urruticoechea A and de Sanjosé S and Comellas F and Capellá G and Pujana MA
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004544
PubMed: 19229342

Targeted and nontargeted effects of ionizing radiation that impact genomic instability.
Cancer research
Maxwell CA and Fleisch MC and Costes SV and Erickson AC and Boissière A and Gupta R and Ravani SA and Parvin B and Barcellos-Hoff MH
DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.can-08-1212
PubMed: 18922902

Cell-surface and mitotic-spindle RHAMM: moonlighting or dual oncogenic functions?
Journal of cell science
Maxwell CA and McCarthy J and Turley E
DOI: 10.1242/jcs.022038
PubMed: 18354082

Aurora A kinase RNAi and small molecule inhibition of Aurora kinases with VE-465 induce apoptotic death in multiple myeloma cells.
Leukemia & lymphoma
Evans R and Naber C and Steffler T and Checkland T and Keats J and Maxwell C and Perry T and Chau H and Belch A and Pilarski L and Reiman T
DOI: 10.1080/10428190701824544
PubMed: 18297535

Genetic and genomic analysis modeling of germline c-MYC overexpression and cancer susceptibility.
BMC genomics
Solé X and Hernández P and de Heredia ML and Armengol L and Rodríguez-Santiago B and Gómez L and Maxwell CA and Aguiló F and Condom E and Abril J and Pérez-Jurado L and Estivill X and Pujana MA
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-9-12
PubMed: 18190704

Genetic interactions: the missing links for a better understanding of cancer susceptibility, progression and treatment.
Molecular cancer
Maxwell CA and Moreno V and Solé X and Gómez L and Hernández P and Urruticoechea A and Pujana MA
DOI: 10.1186/1476-4598-7-4
PubMed: 18186929

The selective Aurora B kinase inhibitor AZD1152 is a potential new treatment for multiple myeloma.
British journal of haematology
Evans RP and Naber C and Steffler T and Checkland T and Maxwell CA and Keats JJ and Belch AR and Pilarski LM and Lai R and Reiman T
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2007.06913.x
PubMed: 18076711

Targeting aurora kinases as therapy in multiple myeloma.
Shi Y and Reiman T and Li W and Maxwell CA and Sen S and Pilarski L and Daniels TR and Penichet ML and Feldman R and Lichtenstein A
DOI: 10.1182/blood-2006-07-037671
PubMed: 17213289

Geometric approach to segmentation and protein localization in cell culture assays.
Journal of microscopy
Raman S and Maxwell CA and Barcellos-Hoff MH and Parvin B
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.2007.01712.x
PubMed: 17286692

Intensity-based signal separation algorithm for accurate quantification of clustered centrosomes in tissue sections.
Microscopy research and technique
Fleisch MC and Maxwell CA and Kuper CK and Brown ET and Barcellos-Hoff MH and Costes SV
DOI: 10.1002/jemt.20372
PubMed: 16941664

The pleiotropic roles of transforming growth factor beta in homeostasis and carcinogenesis of endocrine organs.
Endocrine-related cancer
Fleisch MC and Maxwell CA and Barcellos-Hoff MH
DOI: 10.1677/erc.1.01112
PubMed: 16728569

Hyaluronan and hyaluronan synthases: potential therapeutic targets in cancer.
Current drug targets. Cardiovascular & haematological disorders
Adamia S and Maxwell CA and Pilarski LM
DOI: 10.2174/1568006053005056
PubMed: 15720220

Receptor for hyaluronan-mediated motility correlates with centrosome abnormalities in multiple myeloma and maintains mitotic integrity.
Cancer research
Maxwell CA and Keats JJ and Belch AR and Pilarski LM and Reiman T
PubMed: 15705883

Overexpression of transcripts originating from the MMSET locus characterizes all t(4;14)(p16;q32)-positive multiple myeloma patients.
Keats JJ and Maxwell CA and Taylor BJ and Hendzel MJ and Chesi M and Bergsagel PL and Larratt LM and Mant MJ and Reiman T and Belch AR and Pilarski LM
DOI: 10.1182/blood-2004-09-3704
PubMed: 15677557

A potential role for centrosomal deregulation within IgH translocation-positive myeloma.
Medical hypotheses
Maxwell CA and Pilarski LM
DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2005.05.031
PubMed: 16023302

RHAMM expression and isoform balance predict aggressive disease and poor survival in multiple myeloma.
Maxwell CA and Rasmussen E and Zhan F and Keats JJ and Adamia S and Strachan E and Crainie M and Walker R and Belch AR and Pilarski LM and Barlogie B and Shaughnessy J and Reiman T
DOI: 10.1182/blood-2003-11-4079
PubMed: 15105292

Fluorescence imaging of multiple myeloma cells in a clinically relevant SCID/NOD in vivo model: biologic and clinical implications.
Cancer research
Mitsiades CS and Mitsiades NS and Bronson RT and Chauhan D and Munshi N and Treon SP and Maxwell CA and Pilarski L and Hideshima T and Hoffman RM and Anderson KC
PubMed: 14583463

RHAMM is a centrosomal protein that interacts with dynein and maintains spindle pole stability.
Molecular biology of the cell
Maxwell CA and Keats JJ and Crainie M and Sun X and Yen T and Shibuya E and Hendzel M and Chan G and Pilarski LM
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E02-07-0377
PubMed: 12808028

In multiple myeloma, t(4;14)(p16;q32) is an adverse prognostic factor irrespective of FGFR3 expression.
Keats JJ and Reiman T and Maxwell CA and Taylor BJ and Larratt LM and Mant MJ and Belch AR and Pilarski LM
DOI: 10.1182/blood-2002-06-1675
PubMed: 12393535

The integration of tissue structure and nuclear function.
Biochemistry and cell biology = Biochimie et biologie cellulaire
Maxwell CA and Hendzel MJ
DOI: 10.1139/o01-078
PubMed: 11467740

Lymphagenesis and cancer metastasis.
British journal of cancer
van Netten JP and Cann SA and Maxwell CA and Finegan RP
DOI: 10.1038/bjc.1998.481
PubMed: 9683308


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.


The Maxwell lab is a member of the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research program. We have received research funding support from the following organizations

Avon Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Terry Fox Research Institute and the Michael Cuccione Foundation. We are very grateful for their support.

Honours & Awards


New Investigator, NIC category, CIHR

Research Group Members

Jacqueline Blunt
Annika Burrows, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Ryan Ghorayeb, Graduate Student
Bonnie Huynh, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Le Tam Nhan Nguyen, Research Technician
Jenna Rever, Research Technician
Chris Smendziuk, Research Technician
Brenda Tse, Research Coordinator
Evan Zhou, Graduate Student