Steidl, Christian

Portrait photo of Christian Steidl


Steidl, Christian


Basic Info

Academic Rank:

Professor, UBC, Associate Vice President Research at BC Cancer Research Centre, Head, Department of Lymphoid Cancer Research, Research Director of Centre for Lymphoid Cancer


BC Cancer Research Centre



Short Bio

Dr. Steidl is the Research Director of the Centre for Lymphoid Cancer at BC Cancer and Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He has specific expertise in clinical malignant hematology, molecular pathology, genomics and lymphoma biology. Dr Steidl’s translational research group focuses on the pathogenesis of B cell lymphomas, tumor microenvironment biology and applied genomics.

Dr. Steidl contributed to the discovery of novel somatic gene mutations in B cell lymphomas using next generation sequencing, and established microenvironment composition, and tumor-associated macrophages and normal B cells in particular, as novel biomarkers for outcome prediction in Hodgkin lymphoma. These seminal studies have led to multiple high-impact publications with him as the first or senior author including publications in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Nature Genetics, Cancer Discovery, the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Blood. His leading role in the Centre for Lymphoid Cancer, associated membership to BCC’s Lymphoma Tumor Group as well as active collaborations with scientific consortia (Leukemia and Lymphoma Molecular Profiling Project, Interlymph Hodgkin lymphoma group) and clinical trials groups (Canadian Cancer Trials Group, Eastern Clinical Oncology Group, Children’s Oncology Group) enable the use of primary biopsy material as the start and end points of discovery and biomarker studies in his lymphoma program promoting precision oncology. The Steidl lab is ideally positioned to perform next generation sequencing experiments, downstream data analysis and biological/clinical interpretation of large datasets. With specific relevance to the feasibility of the experiments in the current proposal, the Steidl lab has produced single-cell RNAseq data in primary cell suspension of Hodgkin lymphoma and follicular lymphoma to characterize microenvironment composition and functional state at unprecedented resolution. Single-cell sequencing methodologies will form the basis of novel and detailed genetic and phenotypic investigations into the crosstalk of malignant cells with their microenvironment as proposed in this grant application in the context of ovarian cancer.

Dr. Steidl holds a CIHR Foundation grant investigating the biological underpinnings of cellular crosstalk in lymphoma and is lead investigator of a team grant on treatment failure in lymphoid cancers funded by the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI). He is also project leader of a Genome Canada Large-Scale Applied Research Project (LSARP) to advance personalized treatments of lymphoid cancer patients. Dr Steidl is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Lymphoma Research Foundation, past Chair of the American Society of Hematology Scientific Committee on Lymphoid Neoplasia and Member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee. In 2017, he was inducted as a member of the Royal Society of Canada, College for New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.


Academic Backgrounds

  • PhD equivalent, Universitat Witten / Herdecke, Germany. 2003
  • MD, University of Muenster Medical School, Germany. 2001

Awards & Recognition

  • Career Investigator of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR)
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award

Selected Publications


Current Openings & Opportunities

Current Projects In My Lab include


The research of the Steidl laboratory focuses on the molecular characterization of lymphoid cancers and biomarker discovery in a variety of Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes. Our translational lymphoma research group uses a variety of state-of-the-art genome-wide discovery tools including array-based and digital gene expression profiling, single-nucleotide polymorphisms analysis and massively parallel sequencing techniques. A main research goal of the lab is to identify and functionally study underlying genetic mechanisms of immune privilege in lymphoid cancers. In previous work using next generation sequencing, we identified several driver mutations and gene fusions, in particular, that have been shown to arise from specific chromosomal rearrangements in Hodgkin lymphoma and primary mediastinal large B cell lymphoma. Most of the identified genes (e.g. CIITA, CD274, PDCD1LG2) feature prominently in immune cell function impacting non-neoplastic cells in the tumour microenvironment. The discovery of these changes across a wide spectrum of lymphomas will likely reinforced the paradigm that immune privilege is a critical component of cancer phenotypes.

Another focus of the laboratory is on the specific composition of the tumour microenvironment in Hodgkin lymphoma. Using gene expression profiling and immunohistochemistry we have identified that the number of tumour-associated macrophages in lymph node biopsies is linked to unfavourable treatment outcome. However, many questions remain regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying the interaction of the malignant cells with infiltrating macrophages and immune cells in the microenvironment in general. Recently, CSF1R has been identified as a key molecule expressed on Hodgkin Reed Sternberg (HRS) cells and tumour-associated macrophages in Hodgkin lymphoma. We now seek to better describe the phenotype of tumour-associated macrophages found in lymphoma biopsies to shed more light on this tumour-microenvironment interaction and to test if this cross-talk can be targeted by small molecule inhibitors in-vitro.

Lymphoma relapse and progression is still one of the major clinical challenges in clinical care and our knowledge about the underlying biology of relapse is still rudimentary. Our preliminary data indicate that certain gene findings have developed during treatment and might be characteristic of this relapse biology. Therefore, we specifically focus in ongoing translational studies on lymphoma relapse biopsies using highly-annotated clinical data sets. By collaboration with our clinical colleagues we are working on solutions how to develop better outcome predictors and predictive biomarkers that inform on individualized treatment options. These studies encompass biomarker evaluation in Hodgkin lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, large B cell lymphomas, and mantle cell lymphoma.