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  • Wasundara Fernando, PhD


Dr. Paola Marcato

Program of Study:

Postdoctoral fellow

Project Title:

The role of aldehyde dehydrogenases in metabolic plasticity of breast cancer stem cells

Scholarships and/or Awards:

  • Dalhousie University Graduate Studies in Pathology prize 2019
  • First place in oral presentations, Dalhousie Postdoctoral Research Day 2018
  • Second place in BHCRI 3-minute science elevator pitch 2018 
  • Cancer Research Training Program traineeship award, 2014-2018: Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute
  • John and Lina Graham Commonwealth Scholarship, 2015: Dalhousie University
  • First place in oral presentations, Graduate Research Day, 2014: Dalhousie University

Career Aspirations:

Wasu’s research is mainly focused on understanding the complex behavior of cancer stem cells and the effects of aldehyde dehydrogenases in the metabolic plasticity of breast cancer stem cells. In addition, she also works in the field of Natural Product Chemistry to investigate the pharmacological activities of phytochemicals and their derivatives. Wasu obtained her BSc degree in Pharmacy from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and MSc and PhD degrees from Dalhousie University. Currently, Wasu is working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University.


Dalhousie University


Fernando, W., Coyle, K. Marcato, P., Rupasinghe, H. P. V. and Hoskin, D. W. (2019). Phloridzin docosahexaenoate, a novel fatty acid ester of a plant polyphenol, inhibits mammary carcinoma cell metastasis. Cancer Lett., 465, 68-81.

Loung, C-Y. *, Fernando, W. *, Rupasinghe, H. P. V. and Hoskin, D. W. (2019). Apple peel flavonoid fraction 4 suppresses breast cancer cell growth by cytostatic and cytotoxic mechanisms. Molecules, 24, 3335.
*Contributed equally.

Greenshields, A. L., Coombs, M. R. P. Fernando, W., Holbein, B., and Hoskin, D. W. (2019). DIBI, a novel 3-hydroxypyridin-4-one chelator iron-binding polymer, inhibits breast cancer cell growth and functions as a chemosensitizer by promoting S-phase DNA damage. BioMetals, 32, 909-921.

Fernando, W., Rupasinghe, H. P. V. and Hoskin, D. W. (2019). Dietary phytochemicals with anti-oxidant and pro-oxidant activities: A double-edged sword in relation to adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy? Cancer Lett., 452, 168-177.

Almasi, S., Sterea, A.*, Fernando, W.*, Clements, D., Marcato, P., Hoskin, D. W., Gujar, S., and El Hiani, Y. (2019). TRPM2 ion channel promotes gastric cancer migration, invasion and tumor growth through the AKT signaling pathway. Sci. Rep., 9, 4182.
*Contributed equally.

Greenshields, A. L., Fernando, W., and Hoskin, D. W. (2019). The anti-malarial drug artesunate causes cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of triple-negative MDA-MB-468 and HER2-enriched SK-BR-3 breast cancer cells. Exp. Mol. Pathol., 107, 10-22.

Knickle, A., Fernando, W., Greenshields, A. L., Rupasinghe, H. P. V. and Hoskin, D. W. (2018). Myricetin-induced apoptosis of triple-negative breast cancer cells is mediated by the iron-dependent generation of reactive oxygen species from hydrogen peroxide. Food Chem. Toxicol., 6, 154-167. 

Fernando, W., Coombs, M. R. P., Hoskin, D. W. and Rupasinghe, H. P. V. (2016). Docosahexaenoic acid-acylated phloridzin, a novel polyphenol fatty acid ester derivative, is cytotoxic to breast cancer cells. Carcinogenesis, 37, 1004–1013. 

Fernando, W., Rupasinghe, H. P. V. and Hoskin, D. W. (2015). Regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1a and vascular endothelial growth factor signaling by plant flavonoids. Mini-Rev. Med. Chem., 15, 479-489.

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