Assistant Professor

Arash Zarrine-Afsar

Medical Biophysics-Oncology Research
101 College Street, Room 7-207, MaRS Building, Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower, 7th Floor (STTARR), Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1L7
Research Interests
Molecular and Surgical Oncology
Appointment Status

Dr. Arash Zarrine-Afsar is Scientist & Faculty with the University Health Network’s TECHNA Institute for the Advancement of Technology for Health, holds an appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor with the Graduate Department of Medical Biophysics at The University of Toronto, and is an Affiliate Scientist with the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, and Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at Toronto’s St. Michael's Hospital.

Dr. Zarrine-Afsar’s current research interests revolve around the development of novel molecular oncology methods as they relate to rapid pathology and tumour type or subtype characterization, with a special focus on neuro-oncology and pediatric brain cancers.  In particular, the utility of a hand held Picosecond InfraRed Laser (PIRL) desorption probe for rapid tumour type or subtype/subgroup identification based on real time, 10-second mass spectrometry (MS) analysis of the laser extracted tumour lipids and small molecule metabolites is being investigated. Current progress have made rapid determination of pediatric medulloblastoma (MB) subgroup affiliations on intrasurgical timescales possible with only 10-seconds of sampling and total analysis time, with a correct subgroup affiliation determination rate of ~98%, established over 100 independent banked ex vivo tumour tissues. A translational device development program based on the integration with surgical navigation platforms of the hand-held probe are being pursued that will lead to the novel concept of molecularly guided surgery based on spatially encoded mass spectrometry results for a personalized approach to MB resection that is aimed to reduce neurologic morbidity in low risk patients. The utility of the developed sampling probe that operates on the basis of Serially Mapping Ablated Residues from Tissue (SMART) is being expanded to other cancers through parallel developments of PIRL-MS signature libraries as well as real time, higher-order data and multivariate statistical analysis methods.  


Relevant Publications  

  1. Woolman W, Qiu J, Kuzan-Fischer CM, Ferry I, Dara D, Katz L, Daud F, Wu M, Ventura M, Bernards N, Chan H, Fricke I, Zaidi M, Wouters BG, Rutka JT, Das S, Irish J, Weersink R, Ginsberg HJ, Jaffray DA, Zarrine-Afsar, A (2020). In situ tissue pathology from spatially encoded mass spectrometry classifiers visualized in real time through augmented reality. Chemical Science 11, 8723-8735.
  2. Woolman M, Kuzan-Fischer CM, Ferry I, Kiyota T, Luu B, Wu M, Munoz DG, Das S, Aman A, Taylor MD, Rutka JT, Ginsberg HJ, Zarrine-Afsar A (2019). Picosecond infrared laser desorption mass spectrometry identifies medulloblastoma subgroups on intrasurgical timescales. Cancer Research 79(9):2426-2434