McMaster University

McMaster University

Sam Workenhe


Assistant Professor (Part-Time)
Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Research Scientist

Dr Karen Mossman lab


McMaster University
5070 Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery

Tel: 905-525-9140 ext 22361


Faculty Biography

Education and Professional Standing

  • PDF– 2009-2015. McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster Immunology Research Center, Cancer cell death and immunotherapy
  • PhD - 2006-2009. University of Prince Edward Island, PEI, Canada. Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Atlantic Veterinary College. Immunology.
  • MSc - 2002-2004. University of Tromso, Norway. Department of Marine Biotechnology,– August. 10, 2004- June 01, 2006
  • DVM – 1996-2002. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine


Research Interest

The ability of the immune system to fight cancer has provided the opportunity to utilize cancer immunotherapy for treating expanding list of cancer types. Various immunotherapies have been shown to provide durable responses in a small fraction of patients. However, many cancer types avoid immune recognition and/or generate adaptive mechanisms to subvert immune attack. Thus my research interests are geared towards understanding and modulating natural and therapy-induced adaptive resistance mechanisms of growing tumors. Particularly, our group is interested to utilize murine tumor models resembling non-T cell-inflamed human tumors, with an overall aim of assessing what immunological interventions can overcome failed spontaneous priming. Currently, we are pursuing the hypothesis that immunogenic cancer cell death can initiate priming in non-T cell infiltrated autochthonous tumors. Our research interests will advance knowledge of cancer immunology as well as generate novel immunotherapeutic strategies to increase the proportion of patients responding to current immunotherapies.

Selected Publications

  • Workenhe ST, MacNeill KL, Bakhshinyan D, Cummings DT, Wei J, Bramson JL, Lichty BD, Wan Y, Mossman KL. Therapy induced Necroptosis renders non-immunogenic spontaneous tumors susceptible to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy. Manuscript under preparation.
  • Workenhe ST, van Vloten, JP, Wootton SK, Mossman KL, Bridle BW. Critical interactions between immunogenic cancer cell death, oncolytic viruses and the immune system define the rational design of combination immunotherapies. Journal of Immunology 2018,  200 (2) 450-458.
  • Workenhe ST, Ketela T, Moffat J, Mossman KL. Genome-wide lentiviral shRNA screen identifies Serine-arginine Rich Splicing Factor 2 as a determinant of oncolytic virus activity in breast cancer cells. Oncogene. 2016;35(19):2465-74.
  • Kepp O, Senovilla L, Vitale I, Vacchelli E, Adjemian S, Agostinis P, Apetoh L, Aranda F, Barnaba V, Bloy N, Bracci L, Breckpot K, Brough D, Buqu!e A, Castro MG, Cirone M, Colombo MI, Cremer I, Demaria S,  Dini L, Eliopoulos AG, Faggioni A, Formenti SC, Fucíkov J, Gabriele L, Gaipl US, Galon J, Garg A, Ghiringhelli F, Giese NA, Guo ZS, Hemminki A, Herrmann M, Hodge JW, Holdenrieder S, Honeychurch J, Hu HM, Huang X, Illidge TM, Kono K, Korbelik M, Krysko DV, Loi S, Lowenstein PR, Lugli E, Ma Y, Madeo F, Manfredi AA, Martins I, Mavilio D, Menger L, Merendino N, Michaud M, Mignot G, Mossman KL, Multhoff G, Oehler R, Palombo F, Panaretakis T, Pol J, Proietti E, Ricci JE, Riganti C, Rovere-Querini P, Rubartelli A, Sistigu A, Smyth MJ, Sonnemann J, Spisek R, Stagg J, Sukkurwala AQ, Tartour E, Thorburn A, Thorne SH, Vandenabeele P, Velotti F, Workenhe ST, Yang H, Zong WX, Zitvogel L, Kroemer G, and Galluzzi L. Consensus guidelines for the detection of immunogenic cell death. Oncoimmunology 2014, 3:9, e955691.
  • Workenhe, ST, Verschoor, ML Mossman, KL. The role of oncolytic virus immunotherapies to subvert cancer immune evasion. Future Oncology 2015, 11(4) 675-689.
  • Workenhe, ST, Mossman KL. Oncolytic virotherapy and immunogenic cancer cell death: sharpening the sword for improved cancer treatment strategies. Molecular Therapy 2014, 22(2):251-6.
  • Workenhe, ST, Simmon, GJ, Pol JG, Lichty, BD, Halford WP, Mossman KL. HSV induced immunogenic oncolysis shapes the adaptive immune response and survival after oncolytic HSV-1 treatment. Molecular Therapy 2014, 22(1), 123–131.
  • Workenhe, ST, Mossman KL. Rewiring cancer cell death to enhance oncolytic viro-immunotherapy. Oncoimmunology 2013, 2:12, e27138.
  • Workenhe, ST, Pol JG, Lichty BD, Cummings DT, Mossman KL. Combining oncolytic HSV-1 with immunogenic cell death-inducing drug mitoxantrone breaks cancer immunotolerance and improves therapeutic efficacy. Cancer Immunology Research 2013, 1:1-11.
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