Mark W. Nachtigal, PhD

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Mark W. Nachtigal, PhD

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Research Discipline(s): Basic, Translational

Primary Title: Associate Professor

Additional Titles & Affiliations: Senior Scientist, Manitoba Ovarian Cancer Research Program, CancerCare Manitoba Research Institute; Director, Interdisciplinary Health Program, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences; Director, Advanced Degrees in Medicine, College of Medicine, RFHS


Ovarian Cancer

Research Summary

Human epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the fifth leading cause of death by cancer amongst women. Approximately 95 women in Manitoba will be diagnosed with EOC this year. Even after initial successful responses to therapy, EOC recurs in many patients. My laboratory uses a combination of cellular and molecular approaches to investigate human EOC biology with a special interest in recurrent, chemotherapy-resistant disease. With the formation of the Manitoba Ovarian Biobanking Program (MOBP) my lab will be able to more readily translate data obtained with EOC patient samples to clinically relevant results. The ability to isolate and use patient donated EOC cells in 3-dimensional primary culture provides a more relevant model to assess cell responses. In particular he and his staff and trainees, in collaboration with other University of Manitoba scientists in CCMR are focusing on investigating causes of EOC chromosomal instability, in addition to evaluating novel lipid-based therapeutics for treatment of chemoresistant EOC. This laboratory-based research is being complemented by epidemiologic studies with colleagues in Gynecologic Oncology and the Department of Epidemiology at CCMB to evaluate the EOC patient journey in Manitoba.


Our goals are to (1) develop new treatment strategies to reduce the burden of chemotherapy-resistant, (2) understand fundamental changes in ovarian cancer cell biology that contribute to cancer formation and treatment response, and (3) understand and enhance the patient journey for the Manitoba population.

Research Biography

Mark Nachtigal received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. (Molecular Endocrinology) degrees from the University of Manitoba and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of California San Francisco, Reproductive Endocrinology Centre. Throughout his graduate and post-graduate training his research projects retained a link to human reproductive cancer biology. In 1998 Dr. Nachtigal was recruited to Dalhousie University as the Rossetti Scholar for Cancer Research to study human epithelial ovarian cancer. Dr. Nachtigal returned to Manitoba in 2010 to continue his research on human ovarian cancer. His first contributions in Manitoba were the establishment of the Manitoba Ovarian Biobank Program in collaboration with the Manitoba Tumor Bank, and establishing the Manitoba Ovarian Cancer Outcomes study group in partnership with Gynecologic Oncology and Population Oncology. Further collaborations led to the Manitoba Ovarian Cancer Research Program that encompasses researchers from preclinical, translational, clinical and epidemiologic disciplines. His preclinical and translational research has established methods for culturing primary human ovarian cancer cells, identified novel autocrine signaling pathways that maintain cellular plasticity, characterization of novel ovarian failure models in mice, testing novel therapeutics in ovarian cancer xenograft models, and most recently developing ovarian cancer patient-derived xenografts to enhance translational research in Manitoba.


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    Featured Publications

    • Winchar K, AD Altman, MW Nachtigal, KJ McManus, B Chodirker, S Kean, P Lambert, K Serfas, K Decker. 2022. Referral, genetic counselling, and BRCA testing in the Manitoba high grade serous ovarian cancer population, 2004-2019. Current Oncology. In press.
    • MW Nachtigal, P Musaphir, S Dhiman, AD Altman, F Schweizer, G Arthur. 2021. Cytotoxic Capacity of a Novel Glycosylated Antitumor Ether Lipid in Chemotherapy-Resistant High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer In Vitro and In Vivo. Translational Oncology 14(11): 101203.
    • Morden CR, AC Farrell, M Sliwowski, Z Lichtensztejn, AD Altman, MW Nachtigal, KJ McManus. 2021. Chromosome Instability is Prevalent and Dynamic in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer Patient Samples. Gynecologic Oncology 161(3): 769-778. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2021.02.038.
    • Lepage CC, MCL Palmer, AC Farrell, NM Neudorf, Z Lichtensztejn, MW Nachtigal (corresponding author), KJ McManus. 2021. Reduced SKP1 and CUL1 Expression Underlie Increases in Cyclin E1 and Chromosome Instability in Cellular Precursors of High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer. British Journal of Cancer 124(10): 1699-1710.
    • Moraya AI, JL Ali, P Samadder, L Liang, L Coudiere-Morrison, TE Werbowetski-Ogilvie, M Ogunsina, F Schweizer, G Arthur, MW Nachtigal. 2017. Novel glycolipid agents for killing cisplatin-resistant human epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research. 36(1): 67-80. doi: 10.1186/s13046-017-0538-9
    • Altman AD, P Lambert, AJ Love, D Turner, R Lotocki, E Dean, S Popowich, MW Nachtigal. 2017. Examining the effects of time-to-diagnosis, income, symptoms and incidental detection on overall survival in ovarian cancer: Manitoba Ovarian Cancer Outcomes (MOCO) study group. International Journal of Gynecological Cancer 27(8):1637-1644. doi: 10.1097/IGC.0000000000001074.
    • Penner-Goeke S, Z Lichtensztejn, M Neufeld, JL Ali, AD Altman, MW Nachtigal, KJ McManus. 2017. The Temporal Dynamics of Chromosome Instability in Ovarian Cancer Cell Lines and Primary Patient Samples. PLOS Genetics 13(4):e1006707. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006707.
    • Lambert P, K Galloway, AD Altman, MW Nachtigal, D Turner. 2017. Ovarian cancer in Manitoba, Canada: Trends in incidence and survival (1992-2011). Current Oncology 24(2): e78-e84. doi: 10.3747/co.24

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