Doctoral student Wajih Jawhar demonstrates that epigenetic alterations have a prominent role in cancers

Doctoral student Wajih Jawhar won the best oral presentation award in the biomedical and experimental discoveries category at Quebec’s annual conference on maternal/child health, the 2022 Congrès provincial de la recherche Mère-Enfant.

A student in Experimental Medicine at McGill University and trainee in the laboratories of senior scientist Nada Jabado, MD, PhD, and scientist Livia Garzia, PhD, at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), Wajih Jawhar received the award at the conference held on October 13 and 14, 2022, in Montreal. Students from the four major pediatric centres in Quebec – CHU Québec, Centre de recherche Sainte-Justine, CHU Sherbrooke, and the RI-MUHC – gathered for the sixth year to enjoy a multidisciplinary exchange and present their work.

The topic of Wajih Jawhar’s winning presentation was the involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in sarcomas. As he explains, “Perturbed epigenetic control is a major disease mechanism that diverts cells from their normal developmental trajectories. We hope that further exploration permits exploiting these aberrant mechanisms for therapy.”

“Using stem cells and patient samples, Wajih demonstrated that epigenetic alterations have a prominent role in cancers whereas they were originally thought to be just bystanders,” says Livia Garzia, who is a researcher in the Cancer Research Program. “This teaches us that we still have a lot to learn about cancer genomes and their regulation.”

Learn more about work in the field of pediatric malignancies in Dr. Nada Jabado’s lab in the Child Health and Human Development Program at the RI-MUHC.