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  • Dr. Francesca Di Cara, PhD


Assistant Professor 
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Department of Pediatrics
Dalhousie University

Research Interests:

Peroxisomes, Innate immunity, Immunometabolism, Lipid signaling, Stem cells proliferation, Intestinal epithelium integrity and Homeostasis, host-pathogens/commensals interaction

Cancer cells often alter metabolism to support their malignant phenotype. My group studies peroxisomes, ubiquitous membrane-bounded organelles that play a central role in regulating various metabolic activities, such as the turnover of complex lipids and reactive oxygen species, as immunometabolic organelle. Emerging evidence shows peroxisomes function as pivotal signalling platforms that modulate a growing number of conserved oncogenic or tumour suppressor pathways. My group rely on the genetic of Drosophila melanogaster to determine the cellular networks that regulate peroxisome activity in cancer cells and identify the peroxisomal contributions to cancer-specific metabolic alterations important to drive malignancy. 

Involvement with BHCRI to date:

Dr. Di Cara is an Associate Member





Room K8522, 8th Floor Immunol Research IWK Health Centre 5850/5980 University Avenue Halifax, NS B3K 6R8


Di Cara F., Rachubinski R.A. and Simmonds A.J.* (2018) “Functional characterization of Peroxin5 and Peroxin7 in Drosophila melanogaster” (in press. Genetics manuscript number Genetic/2018/301157). 

Di Cara F., Margret Bülow, Simmonds A.J. and Rachubinski R.A. (2018) “Dysfunctional peroxisomes compromise gut structure and host defense by increased cell death and Tor-dependent autophagy Molecular Biology of the Cell Vol. 29, No. 22

Di Cara F. , Sheshachalam A., Braverman N.E., Rachubinski R.A. and Simmonds A.J. “Peroxisome-Mediated Metabolism Is Required for Immune Response to Microbial Infection”, Immunity (2017), Immunity. 2017 Jul 18;47(1):93-106.e7. 

Di Cara F and King-Jones K. “The Circadian Clock Is a Key Driver of Steroid Hormone Production in Drosophila” Current Biology 26, 2469–2477 September 26, 2016 
See accompanying Dispatch 2016 Sep 26;26(18): R855-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.07.068

Di Cara F, Maile M T, Parsons D B, Magico A, Basu S, Tapon N, and King-Jones K. (2015) “The Hippo pathway promotes cell survival in response to chemical stress” Cell Death Differ. 2015 Sep;22(9):1526-39. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2015.10.

Di Cara F. Peroxisomes: The current understanding. PostdDoc Journal
Vol. 1, No. 11, November 2013 ISSN : 2328-9791.

Di Cara F, Duca E, Dunbar D, Cagney G and Heck MMS. (2013). Invadolysin, a conserved lipid droplet-associated protease interacts with mitochondrial ATP synthase to modulate mitochondrial metabolism in Drosophila. J Cell Sci. 2013 Oct 15;126 (Pt 20):4769-81

Di Cara F and King-Jones K. “How Clocks and Hormones Act in Concert to Control the Timing of Insect Development” (2013). Review-Current Topics in Developmental Biology: Developmental Timing, edited by Ann Rougvie and Michael O’Connor  2013;105:1-36.

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