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Martin Holcik photo of Martin Holcik
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute
Director, Molecular Biomedicine Program, CHEO Research Institute
Full Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine,
University of Ottawa
Research Practice Areas:
Current Research:
Dr. Holcik’s research is focused on:

Closely regulated mRNA translation plays a central role in many fundamental biological processes; conversely dysregulated translation has been implicated in disease pathogenesis, most notably cancer. We study the link between proteins synthesis and disease with specific focus on three distinct, but complementary areas:

1) We continue to delineate the mechanism(s) of selective translation through IRES and its impact on cell survival.

2) We study the subcellular localization of RNA binding proteins and its effect on viral infection and apoptosis.

3) We study the pathophysiological implications of defects in tRNA metabolism in patient cells, yeast and mouse models of the disease.

Research Team:
  • Golnoush Hassanzadeh
  • Thet Naing
  • Travis Richard
Dr. Holcik is a Scientist at the Apoptosis Research Center of the CHEO Research Institute, a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa, and Director of the Molecular Biomedicine Program of the CHEO Research Institute. Dr. Holcik received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the Univerzita Komenskeho (Bratislava, Slovak Republic), and his PhD from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada). Dr. Holcik is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Award (2001), Premier’s Research Excellence Award (2004), Faculty of Medicine Young Professor Award (2007), the University of Ottawa Young Researcher Award (2007), and the CHEO Research Institute Award of Excellence (2009).
Sample Publications:

* View a complete list of publications on PubMed *

Saxena,M., Busca, A., Holcik, M, and A.Kumar. Bacterial DNA protects monocytic cells against HIV-Vpr-inducedmitochondrial membrane depolarization. Journal of Immunology, [E-pub ahead of print]

Dobson, C.C., Langlois, S., Grynspan, D., Cowan, K.N., and M. Holcik. 2016. Engaging cell death pathways for the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma. Critical Reviews in Oncogenesis, in press.

Thakor, N., Smith, M.D., Roberts, L., Faye, M.D., Patel, H., Wieden, H.-J., Cate, J., and M. Holcik. 2016. Cellular mRNA recruits the ribosome via eIF3-PABP bridge to initiate internal translation. RNA Biology, [E-pub ahead of print]

Liwak-Muir, U., Dobson, CC., Naing, T., Wylie, Q., Chehade, M., Chakraborty, P., and M. Holcik. 2016. ERK8 is a novel HuR kinase that regulates PDCD4 levels through a miR21-dependent mechanism. Oncotarget, doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.6363. [Epub ahead of print]

Holcik, M. 2015. Could the eIF2a-Independent translation be the Achilles heelof cancer? Front Oncol. 5:264.doi:10.3389/fonc.2015.00264.

Faye, M.D., Beug, S., Graber, T.E., Earl, N., Langlois, S., Cowan, K.N., Korneluk, R.G., and M. Holcik. 2015. IGF2BP1 controls cell death and drug resistance in rhabdomyosarcomas by regulating translation of cIAP1.Oncogene, 34(12):1532-41
Kernohan, K.D., Tétreault, M., Liwak-Muir, U., Geraghty, M.T., Qin, W., Venkateswaran, S., Davila, J.; Care4Rare Canada Consortium, Holcik, M., Majewski, J., Richer, J., and K.M. Boycott. 2015. Homozygous mutation in the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2alpha phosphatase gene, PPP1R15B, is associated with severe microcephaly, short stature, and intellectual disability. Human Molecular Genetics, Aug 24.pii:ddv337. [Epub ahead of print]
Courteau, L., Crasto, J., Hassanzadeh, G., Baird, S.D., Hodgins, J., Liwak-Muir, U., Fung, G., Luo, H., Stojdl, D.F., Screaton, R.A., and M. Holcik. 2015. Hexokinase 2 controls cellular stress response through localization of an RNA binding protein. Cell Death and Disease, Aug 6;6:e1837.doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.209.
Liberman, N., Gandin, V., Svitkin, Y.V., David, M., Virgili, G., Jaramillo, M., Holcik, M., Nagar, B., Kimchi, A., and N. Sonenberg. 2015. DAP5/p97 associates with eIF2β and eIF4AI to promote Internal Ribosome Entry Site driven translation. Nucleic Acids Research, 43(7): 3764-75.
Brett,K.E., Ferraro, Z., Holcik, M., and K.B. Adamo. 2015.Prenatal physical activity and diet composition may affect nutrient transportand mTOR signaling in the human placenta. Placenta, 36(2): 2014-212.
Roy, R., Durie, D., Jordan, L.E., Hue, L., Qian, L.B., Skehel, M., Mauri, F., Lin, G., Holcik, M., Seckl, M.J., and O.E. Pardo. 2014. hnRNPA1 couples nuclear export and translation of specific mRNAs downstream of FGF2/S6K2 signalling. Nucleic Acids Research, 42(20):12483-12497.
Faye,M.D., and M. Holcik. 2014. The role of IRES trans-actingfactors in apoptosis and cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – GeneRegulatory Mechanisms, pii: S1874-9399(14)00254-5
Chakraborty, P.*, Schmitz-Abe, K., Kennedy, E.K., Mamady, H., Naas, T., Durie, D., Campagna, D.R., Lau, A., Sendamarai, A.K., Wiseman, D.H., May, A., Jolles, S., Connor, P., Powell, C., Heeney, M.H., Giardina, P.J., Klaassen, R., Kannengiesser, C., Thuret, I., Thompson, A., Marques, L., Hughes, S., Bonney, D., Bottomley, S.S., Wynn, R., Laxer, R.M., Minniti, C., Moppett, J., Bordon, V., Geraghty, M., Joyce, P.B.M., Markianos, K.*, Rudner, A.D.*, Holcik, M.*, and M. Fleming*. 2014. Mutations in TRNT1, encoding the CCA-adding enzyme, cause congenital sideroblastic anemia with B cell immunodeficiency, periodic fevers and developmental delay. Blood, 124(18):2867-71 * senior co-authors directed the work equally.
Faye, M.D., Graber, T.E., and M. Holcik. 2014. Assessment of selective mRNA translation in mammalian cells by polysome profiling. J. Vis. Exp., 92, e52295, doi:10.3791/52295

Liwak, U., Jordan, L. E., Davidson Von-Holt, S., Singh, P., Hanson, J.E.L., Lorimer, I.A., Roncaroli, F., and M. Holcik. 2013. Loss of PDCD4 contributes to enhanced chemoresistance in Glioblastoma Multiforme through de-repression of Bcl-xL translation. Oncotarget, 4(9): 1365-72

Durie, D., Hatzoglou, M., Chakraborty, P., and M. Holcik. 2013. HuR controls mitochondrila morphology through the regulation of Bcl-xL translation. Translation, 1(1): 1-9

Faye MD, Graber TE, Liu P, Thakor N, Baird SD, Durie D, and M. Holcik. 2013. Nucleotide composition of cellular internal ribosome entry sites defines dependence on NF45 and predicts a posttranscriptional mitotic regulon. Mol Cell Biol. 33(2):307-18.

Liwak, U., Jordan, L. E., Davidson Von-Holt, S., Singh, P., Hanson, J.E.L., Lorimer, I.A., Roncaroli, F., and M. Holcik. 2013. Loss of PDCD4 contributes to enhanced chemoresistance in Glioblastoma Multiforme through de-repression of Bcl-xL translation. Oncotarget, 4(9): 1365-72
James Uniacke, Chet E. Holterman, Gabriel Lachance, Aleksandra Franovic, Mathieu D. Jacob, Marc R. Fabian, Josianne Payette, M. Holcik, Arnim Pause, and Stephen Lee. 2012. An oxygen-regulated switch in the protein synthesis machinery. Nature.

Thakor, N., and M. Holcik. 2012. IRES-mediated translation of cellular mRNA operates in eIF2α−independent manner during stress. Nucleic Acids Research, 40 (2): 541-552

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