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Amadeo Parissenti

Amadeo Parissenti

Full Professor, School of Natural Sciences
School of Natural Sciences
Science, Engineering and Architecture
HSERC Building, Room 224A


Dr. Parissenti teaches courses in Recombinant DNA Technology, Protein Chemistry, and the Molecular Basis of Cancer at Laurentian University.  He also provides lectures for sessions on Molecular Diagnostics, Immunology, Haematology, Haematological Neoplasms, and Autoimmune Diseases for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.  His research expertise is in the area of molecular pharmacology, with a particular emphasis on chemotherapy drug resistance in breast and ovarian cancer.  Dr. Parissenti serves on the Tissue Banking and Breast Correlative Sciences committees of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group.  He and his research collaborators recently developed an RNA-based test to monitor the effectiveness of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in cancer patients.  The test is being further investigated and commercialized by Rna Diagnostics, Inc., a company for which he currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer.  Dr. Parissenti's research group and the Rna Diagnostics' research and development laboratory are located at the Health Sciences North Research Institute, where Dr. Parissenti holds a Scientist Position.


  • B.Sc. (Biochemistry)  University of Guelph
  • Ph.D. (Biology)  York University
  • Postdoctoral Studies  Harvard Medical School
  • Postdoctoral Studies  University of Toronto

Academic Appointments

Full Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Laurentian University

Cross appointment, Department of Biology, Laurentian University

Full Professor, Division of Medical Sciences, Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Scientist, Health Sciences North Research Institute

Professor, Division of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa

On The Web


Dr. Parissenti's research group and its collaborators seek to identify and validate effective approaches to monitor the effectiveness of cancer treatments in cancer patients.  They recently discovered the ability of a variety of structurally distinct chemotherapy agents to induce the degradation of ribosomal RNA in tumour cells, a phenomenon we refer to as “RNA disruption”.  Interestingly, they observed in a national clinical trial (MA.22) that high tumour RNA disruption during treatment is associated with pathologic complete response and improved disease-free survival after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced breast cancer.  

One current goal of the group is to validate their promising clinical findings in an international breast cancer clinical trial called BREVITY.  They are also focused on better understanding the biochemical and cellular mechanisms involved in RNA disruption by chemotherapy agents.

Dr. Parissenti's research group has also provided evidence that chemotherapy agents can induce an acute inflammatory response in tumour cells involving the production of the cytokine tumour necrosis factor (TNF).  This induction is lost in chemoresistant cells, and they are now investigating strategies to restore TNF production in chemoresistant cells through the activation of toll like receptors (TLRs).


  • Premier's Research Excellence Award
  • Merit Increments in 2003 and 2011
  • Best Intellectual Property Award for Rna Diagnostics, Inc. (TieQuest Business Competition)
  • Honorary Lifetime Membership Award - Science North
  • Laurentian University Research Excellence Award in 2019


CHMI 4226  Recombinant DNA Technology

CHMI 5256  Molecular Basis of Cancer

CHMI 5216  Protein Chemistry

CHMI 4615  Research and Seminar

NOSM 107  Molecular Biology of Cancer and Molecular Diagnostics

NOSM 107  Topic Oriented Sessions

NOSM 109  Introduction to Haematology and the Immune System

NOSM 109  Lymphocytes, Haematological Malignancies and Immunodeficiences


1.  Sprowl, J.A., Reed, K., Armstrong, S., Lanner, C., Guo, B., Kalatskaya, I., Stein, L., Hembruff, S. L., and Parissenti, A. M. (2012) Alterations in tumour necrosis factor signaling pathways are associated with cytotoxicity and resistance to taxanes: a study in isogenic resistant tumor cells. Breast Cancer Res. 14(1):R2

2. Heibein, A. D., Guo, B., Sprowl, J. A., Maclean, D. A., and Parissenti, A. M. (2012) Role of AKRs and Other Doxorubicin Pharmacokinetic Genes in Doxorubicin Resistance, DNA binding, and Subcellular Localization.  BMC Cancer. 12:381.

3.  Armstrong, S.R., Narendrula, R., Guo, B., Parissenti, A.M., McCallum, K.L., Cull, S., Lanner, C. (2012) Distinct genetic alterations occur in ovarian tumor cells selected for combined resistance to carboplatin and docetaxel. J. Ovarian Res. 5(1):40.

4. Wang, H., Vo, T., Hajar, A., Chen, X., Parissenti, A.M., Brindley, D.N. and Wang, Z. (2014) Multiple mechanisms underlying acquired resistance to taxanes in selected docetaxel-resistant MCF breast cancer cells. BMC Cancer 14:37.

5. Pritzker, K., Pritzker, L., Generali, D., Bottini, A., Cappelletti, M. R., Guo, B., Parissenti, A.M. and Trudeau, M. (2015) RNA disruption and drug response in breast cancer primary systemic therapy.  J. Natl. Cancer Instit. Monog. 51: 76-80.

6. Parissenti, A. M., Guo, B., Pritzker, L. B., Pritzker, K.P.H., Wang, X., Zhu, M., Shepherd, L. E., and Trudeau, M. E. (2015).  Tumor RNA disruption predicts survival benefit from breast cancer chemotherapy.  Breast Cancer Res. Treat. 153: 135-144.

7.Edwardson, D.W., Narendrula, R., Chewchuk, S., Mispel-Beyer, K., Mapletoft, J.P.J., and Parissenti, A.M.  (2015) Role of drug metabolism in the cytotoxicity and clinical efficacy of anthracyclines.  Current Drug Metab.  16: 412-426.

8. Trudeau, M.E., Chapman, J.A., Guo, B., Clemons, M.J., Dent, R.A., Kahn, H.J., Pritchard, K.I., Han, L., O’Brien, P., Shepherd, L.E. and Parissenti, A.M. (2015) A phase I/II trial of epirubicin and docetaxel in locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) on 2-weekly or 3-weekly schedules: NCIC CTG MA.22. Springerplus. Oct 21;4:631. 

9. Narendrula, R., Mispel-Beyer, K., Guo, B., Parissenti, A.M., Pritzker, L.B., Pritzker, K., Masilamani, T., Wang, X., Lanner, C. (2016) RNA disruption is associated with response to multiple classes of chemotherapy drugs in tumor cell lines. BMC Cancer. Feb 24;16:146.

10. Zheng, X., Andruska, N., Lambrecht, M.J., He, S., Parissenti, A.M., Hergenrother, P.J., Nelson, E.R.,Shapiro, D.J. (2016) Targeting multidrug-resistant ovarian cancer through estrogen receptor alpha-dependent hyperactivation of the UPR.  Oncotarget

11.  Guo, B., Tam, A., Santi, S.A., Parissenti, A.M. (2016) Role of autophagy and lysosomal drugsequestration in acquired resistance to doxorubicin in MCF-7 cells.  BMC Cancer, Sep 29; 16(1):762.

12.  Chewchuk, S., Guo, B., and Parissenti, A.M. (2017) Alternations in estrogen signalling pathways upon acquisition of anthracycline resistance in breast tumour cells.  PLoS One 12(2):e0172244

13.  Wang, R.C., Chen, X., Parissenti, A.M., Joy, A.A., Tuszynski, J., Brindley, D.N. and Wang, Z. (2017) Sensitivity of docetaxel-resistant MCF-7 breast cancer cells to microtubule-destablizing agents including vinca alkaloids and colchicine-site binding agents.  PLoS One. 2017 Aug 7;12(8):e0182400.

14.  Edwardson, D.W., Boudreau, J., Mapletoft, J., Lanner, C., Kovala. A.T., and Parissenti, A. M. (2017) Inflammatory cytokine production in tumor cells upon chemotherapy exposure or upon selection for drug resistance.  PLoS One. 2017 Sep 15;12(9):e0183662

15.  Chewchuk, S., Boorman, T., Edwardson, D. and Parissenti, A.M. (2018) Bile acids increase doxorubicin sensitivity in ABCC1-expressing tumour cells.  Sci. Rep. 8(1): 5413.  doi 10.1038/s41598-018-23496-y

16.  Stokes, E., Shuang, T., Zhang, T., Pei, Y., Fu, M., Guo, B., Parissenti, A.M., Wu, L., Wang R. and Yang G. (2018) Efflux inhibition by H2S confers sensitivity to doxorubiin-induced cell death in liver cancer cells. Life Sci. 213: 116-125 doi 1016/j.lfs.2018.10.031

17.  Edwardson, D. E., Parissenti, A., and Kovala, A.T. (2019) Chemotherapy and inflammatory cytokine signalling in cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment. in Breast Cancer Metastasis and Drug Resistance, 2nd Edition (A. Ahmad, ed.) Springer Medical Publishers, New York