Katalin Szaszi


Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science


Dr. Katalin Szaszi is a Staff Scientist in the Keenan Research Center for Biomedical Science (KRCBS) at St. Michael’s Hospital and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto (Department of Surgery). She obtained her Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary. She completed post-doctoral training in the Cell Biology Department at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and at Toronto General Hospital. In 2005, she was appointed as a Scientist at the KRCBS. She is also a member of the Institute of Medical Science (IMS) at the University of Toronto and the Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science Technology (iBest), a partnership between Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital. She currently serves as the Co-Director of the Research Training Centre (RTC) at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Dr. Szaszi is a cell biologist whose research focuses on epithelial biology and pathophysiology. Her main area of interest is the role and regulation of Rho family proteins and tight junctions by inflammatory stimuli. Her lab has shown that the Rho exchange factor GEF-H1 is a key mediator of Tumor Necrosis factor (TNF)-induced Rac and RhoA activation and demonstrated the role of phosphorylation in the differential regulation of this protein towards Rac and RhoA. Recently, they have found that TNF treatment induces a biphasic effect on the tight junction protein claudin-2 with and initial increase and a late decrease, and described the underlying mechanisms. Her lab explores the role of these proteins in animal models of kidney diseases. Dr. Szaszi has more than 50 peer-reviewed well cited publications.

Dr. Szaszi’s lab is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Kidney Foundation of Canada (KFoC). She was a recipient of a Krescent New Investigator award from KFoC and CIHR (2007-2010) and an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Innovation. Dr. Szaszi has contributed to the training of numerous undergraduate and graduate students. She has served on several grant panels including those of the Kidney Foundation and CIHR.

Please note: Dr. Szaszi is not taking any summer students in 2018.

Recent Publications

  1. Filewod, NC, Batt, J, Kapus, A, Szaszi, K, Fairn, GD, Slutsky, AS et al.. Should basic science matter to clinicians?. Lancet. 2018;391 (10119):410-412. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30199-5. PubMed PMID:29407017 .
  2. Miranda, MZ, Bialik, JF, Speight, P, Dan, Q, Yeung, T, Szászi, K et al.. TGF-β1 regulates the expression and transcriptional activity of TAZ protein via a Smad3-independent, myocardin-related transcription factor-mediated mechanism. J. Biol. Chem. 2017;292 (36):14902-14920. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.780502. PubMed PMID:28739802 PubMed Central PMC5592669.
  3. Krauszman, A, Mak, TW, Szaszi, K, Kuebler, WM. Role of phosphatase and tensin homolog in hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction. Cardiovasc. Res. 2017;113 (8):869-878. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvx076. PubMed PMID:28430879 .
  4. Amoozadeh, Y, Dan, Q, Anwer, S, Huang, HH, Barbieri, V, Waheed, F et al.. Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Increases Claudin-1, 4, and 7 Expression in Tubular Cells: Role in Permeability Changes. J. Cell. Physiol. 2017;232 (8):2210-2220. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25736. PubMed PMID:27966776 .
  5. Han, B, Li, M, Xu, Y, Islam, D, Khang, J, Del Sorbo, L et al.. Tsr Chemoreceptor Interacts With IL-8 Provoking E. coli Transmigration Across Human Lung Epithelial Cells. Sci Rep. 2016;6 :31087. doi: 10.1038/srep31087. PubMed PMID:27506372 PubMed Central PMC4978974.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Szaszi, K. A basic scientist's reflections on research funding. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2015;2 :50. doi: 10.1186/s40697-015-0087-0. PubMed PMID:26629356 PubMed Central PMC4666045.
  9. Rozycki, M, Bialik, JF, Speight, P, Dan, Q, Knudsen, TE, Szeto, SG et al.. Myocardin-related Transcription Factor Regulates Nox4 Protein Expression: LINKING CYTOSKELETAL ORGANIZATION TO REDOX STATE. J. Biol. Chem. 2016;291 (1):227-43. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.674606. PubMed PMID:26555261 PubMed Central PMC4697158.
  10. Yin, J, Michalick, L, Tang, C, Tabuchi, A, Goldenberg, N, Dan, Q et al.. Role of Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 4 in Neutrophil Activation and Acute Lung Injury. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. 2016;54 (3):370-83. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2014-0225OC. PubMed PMID:26222277 .
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Co-Director, Research Training Centre (RTC), Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science & Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Member, Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science Technology (iBest), Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto
  • Full Member, Institute of Medical Science (IMS), University of Toronto