Norma Ybarra


Assistant Professor

Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology & Medical Physics Unit, McGill University

Other appointments:

Associate Member, Department of Medicine, Division of Experimental Medicine, McGill University


Cedars Cancer Centre, Medical Physics, DS1.7141
McGill University Health Centre - Glen Site
1001 boul. Décarie
Montréal, QC H4A 3J1


514 934 1934 x76265


norma.ybarra [at]


BSc (National U, Mexico); MSc (Montréal); MVZ, PhD (Montréal)

Research focus:

Current cancer therapies have increased the survival of cancer patients, but unfortunately regardless of the cancer therapy used, cancer often recurs, because these therapies only extend cancer patients’ survival, but often fail to completely eliminate cancer cells, and do not correct the modifiable underlying causes of cancer. These therapies, especially chemotherapy cause morbidity, and long-term side effects. In young patients that are typically cancer survivors, chemotherapy increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. In adult patients, who are already presenting a cluster of metabolic abnormalities, traditional cancer treatments exacerbate these metabolic abnormalities (dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus), and other chronic diseases, such as COPD. These metabolic abnormalities are linked to carcinogenesis, and/or cancer progression.

The overall goal of my research program is to improve disease free survival of cancer patients, and decrease the side effects of currently used therapies, particularly radiotherapy, which are effective only to a certain degree. A better understanding of the impact of currently used cancer therapies, and chronic diseases therapies could help in the prevention of cancer progression and management of long-term side effects.
Short research description:

Detection of different biomarkers present in serum or plasma samples and tissues that are related to radiation related toxicities or tumor malignancy.

In vivo and in vitro studies that involve the use of compounds that aim to reduce the side effects of irradiation, without reducing the efficacy of radiotherapy.


1. Radio-sensitization of cancer cell lines using different compounds.

2. Alternative therapies to reduce normal tissue toxicity, we are currently working in an orthotopic lung cancer mouse model to reduce normal lung tissue damage after radiotherapy.

3. Use of biomarkers to predict radiation-induced side effects

Recent Publications:

Publications list
Group members:

Graduate students:

Paterson, Laura (PhD candidate, Experimental Medicine)

Wang, Li Ming (PhD candidate, Experimental Medicine)


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