Andras Kapus


Platform Director, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science


My lab has two major research foci:

1. The biology of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a key process underlying tissue fibrosis. Our goal is to understand how normal epithelial cells (particularly of the kidney) transform into matrix-producing (scar-forming) invasive and contractile myofibroblasts. Our major interest is to explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby injury of the intercellular contacts leads to EMT. This basic research allows insight into fundamental mechanisms responsible for the pathogenesis of major disease entities such as kidney and lung fibrosis and liver cirrhosis.

2. Signaling in osmotic stress and cell volume regulation. Normal volume and water content is vital for every cell. We investigate how dehydration and the corresponding cell shrinkage initiate adaptive responses that include reinforcement of the cell structure (cytoskeleton), remodeling of organelles, activation of ion transport processes and osmosensitive genes. We examine how volume-dependent signaling results in adaptation and survival or, in severe cases, a programmed cell death. This basic research helps elucidate how cells cope with stress conditions, which occur in a variety of disease states, including diabetes, dehydration, trauma and heart failure.

Recent Publications

  1. Civitarese, RA, Kapus, A, McCulloch, CA, Connelly, KA. Role of integrins in mediating cardiac fibroblast-cardiomyocyte cross talk: a dynamic relationship in cardiac biology and pathophysiology. Basic Res. Cardiol. 2017;112 (1):6. doi: 10.1007/s00395-016-0598-6. PubMed PMID:28000001 .
  2. Zhang, Y, Connelly, KA, Thai, K, Wu, X, Kapus, A, Kepecs, D et al.. Sirtuin 1 Activation Reduces Transforming Growth Factor-β1-Induced Fibrogenesis and Affords Organ Protection in a Model of Progressive, Experimental Kidney and Associated Cardiac Disease. Am. J. Pathol. 2017;187 (1):80-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2016.09.016. PubMed PMID:27993241 .
  3. Moodley, S, Derouet, M, Bai, XH, Xu, F, Kapus, A, Yang, BB et al.. Stimulus-dependent dissociation between XB130 and Tks5 scaffold proteins promotes airway epithelial cell migration. Oncotarget. 2016;7 (47):76437-76452. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.13261. PubMed PMID:27835612 .
  4. Li, CX, Talele, NP, Boo, S, Koehler, A, Knee-Walden, E, Balestrini, JL et al.. MicroRNA-21 preserves the fibrotic mechanical memory of mesenchymal stem cells. Nat Mater. 2017;16 (3):379-389. doi: 10.1038/nmat4780. PubMed PMID:27798620 .
  5. Goldenberg, NM, Steinberg, BE, Rutka, JT, Chen, R, Cabral, V, Rosenblum, ND et al.. Research projects in the Surgeon-Scientist and Clinician-Investigator programs at the University of Toronto (1987-2016): a cohort study. CMAJ Open. ;4 (3):E444-E447. doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20160062. PubMed PMID:27730108 PubMed Central PMC5047840.
  6. Civitarese, RA, Talior-Volodarsky, I, Desjardins, JF, Kabir, G, Switzer, J, Mitchell, M et al.. The α11 integrin mediates fibroblast-extracellular matrix-cardiomyocyte interactions in health and disease. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 2016;311 (1):H96-H106. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00918.2015. PubMed PMID:27199132 .
  7. Speight, P, Kofler, M, Szászi, K, Kapus, A. Context-dependent switch in chemo/mechanotransduction via multilevel crosstalk among cytoskeleton-regulated MRTF and TAZ and TGFβ-regulated Smad3. Nat Commun. 2016;7 :11642. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11642. PubMed PMID:27189435 PubMed Central PMC4873981.
  8. Tsang, JL, Jia, SH, Parodo, J, Plant, P, Lodyga, M, Charbonney, E et al.. Tyrosine Phosphorylation of Caspase-8 Abrogates Its Apoptotic Activity and Promotes Activation of c-Src. PLoS ONE. 2016;11 (4):e0153946. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153946. PubMed PMID:27101103 PubMed Central PMC4839753.
  9. Szeto, SG, Narimatsu, M, Lu, M, He, X, Sidiqi, AM, Tolosa, MF et al.. YAP/TAZ Are Mechanoregulators of TGF-β-Smad Signaling and Renal Fibrogenesis. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 2016; :. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2015050499. PubMed PMID:26961347 PubMed Central PMC5042658.
  10. Kapus, A. A little (up)SET THEORY: a philosophical and psychological pondering of a scientist on the state of our art. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2015;2 :48. doi: 10.1186/s40697-015-0084-3. PubMed PMID:26629354 PubMed Central PMC4665707.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Head of the Research Training Centre at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Member of the basic science committee, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Associate Vice Chair of Research, Department of Surgery (responsible for issues regarding non-clinician scientists in the Department of Surgery), University of Toronto
  • Former grant review panel member at the Kidney Foundation of Canada
  • Member of the Banting Foundation Grant Panel
  • Member of the research committee, Department of Surgery
  • Regular member of the Institute of Medical Science (IMS)
  • Member of the Appointments Committee, IMS
  • Course Coordinator: Cell Migration Course, Human Biology Program
  • Seminar leader (biochemistry for medical students)
  • Reviewer at several international journals including Amer. J. Physiol., Amer. J. Pathol., Amer. J. of Respiratory Cell and Mol. Biol., Biochem. J., J. Cell Science, EMBO J, Exp. Cell Research, FEBS letters, J. Biol. Chem., J. Leukocyte Biol., Oncogene, PNAS, Thrombosis and Hemostasis and others