The Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute logo
  • Dr. Melanie Coombs, PhD


Assistant Professor, Department of Biology


Acadia University

Research Interests:

Cancer, microbiology, immunology, phytochemicals and anti-microbial peptides

Investigating Effects of Phytochemicals, their derivatives and Anti-microbial Peptides on Cancer and Immune cells.

Dr. Melanie Coombs’s research interests include the investigation of the anti-cancer and immunomodulatory effects of natural products such as phytochemicals and anti-microbial peptides at a cellular and molecular level. Phytochemicals from apples, berries and leafy vegetables or anti-microbial peptides such as mastoparan from wasp venom will be used to study the mechanisms of action on killing cancer cells as well as effects on immune cell function. Investigations will examine the potential of these natural products as future anti-cancer or immunomodulatory treatments.

Involvement with BHCRI to date:

Dr. Melanie Coombs is an Associate Member


(902) 585-1162




Biology building, Acadia University, 33 Westwood Ave, Wolfville, NS, Canada, B4P 2R6


Furlong, S., M.R. Coombs and D.W. Hoskin. Thy-1 stimulation of mouse T cells induces a delayed T cell receptor-like signal that results in Ca2+-independent cytotoxicity. Mol. Med. Rep. 2017 Oct;16(4):5683-92.

Fernando, W., M.R. Coombs, D.W. Hoskin and H.P. Rupasinghe. Docosahexaenoic acid-acylated phloridzin, a novel polyphenol fatty acid ester derivative, is cytotoxic to breast cancer cells. Carcinogenesis. 2016 Oct;37(10):1004-13.

Power Coombs, M.R.*, M.E. Harrison* and D.W. Hoskin. Apigenin Inhibits the Inducible Expression of Programmed Death Ligand 1 by Mammary Carcinoma Cells. Cancer Lett. 2016 Oct 1;380(2):424-33. *These authors contributed equally to this work.

Bernard, M., S. Furlong, M.R. Power Coombs and D.W. Hoskin. Differential inhibition of T lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine synthesis by [6]-gingerol, [8]-gingerol, and [10]-gingerol. Phytother Res. 2015 Nov 29(11):1707-13. 

Power Coombs, M.R., T. Grant, A.L. Greenshields, D.J Arsenault, B. Holbein and D.W. Hoskin. Inhibitory Effect of Iron Withdrawal by Chelation on the Growth of Human and Murine Mammary Carcinoma and Fibrosarcoma Cells. Exp. Mol. Pathol. 2015 Oct;99(2):262-70.

Yaffe, P.B., M.R. Power Coombs, C.D. Doucette, M. Walsh and D.W. Hoskin. Piperine, an alkaloid from black pepper, inhibits growth of human colon cancer cells via G1 arrest and apoptosis triggered by endoplasmic reticulum stress. Mol. Carcinog. 2015 Oct;54(10):1070-85. 

Madera, L., M.R. Power Coombs, A.L. Greenshields and D.W. Hoskin. 4T1 murine mammary carcinoma cells enhance macrophage-mediated innate inflammatory responses. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 15;10(7):e0133385.

McDonald M., M. Mannion, D. Pike, K. Lewis, A. Flynn, A.M. Brannan, M.J. Browne, D. Jackman, L. Madera, M.R. Power Coombs, D.W. Hoskin, M.L. Rise and V. Booth. Structure-Function Relationships in Histidine-Rich Antimicrobial Peptides from Atlantic Cod. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Apr 1;1848(7):1451-61.

Harrison, M.E., M.R. Power Coombs, L.M. Delaney and D.W. Hoskin. Exposure of Breast Cancer Cells to a Subcytotoxic Dose of Apigenin Causes Growth Inhibition, Oxidative Stress, and Hypophosphorylation of Akt. Exp. Mol. Pathol. 2014 Jul 12;97(2):211-17.

Power Coombs, M.R., K.D. Kronforst and O. Levy. Neonatal Host Defense against Staphylococcal Infections. Clin. Dev. Immunol. 2013; (Article ID 826303).

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