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Andrew Leask

Andrew Leask, BSc. PhD
CIHR Group in Skeletal Development and Remodeling,
Dental Sciences Building
University of Western Ontario
London, ON, N6A 5C1, Canada

Present Position

  • Associate Professor


  • American Society of Cell Biology
  • American Society of Investigative Pathology
  • American Society of Matrix Biology
  • Canadian Arthritis Network
  • International CCN Society-Scientific Board Member
  • International Association of Dental Research


  • British Columbia Government Scholarships 1982-1986
  • Khaki University Award 1986
  • Dean’s List (UBC) 1985-1986
  • NSERC Undergraduate Research Fellow 1986
  • Logan Entrance Fellowship (Chicago)1986
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Award 1989-1992
  • Medical Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship 1992-1995
  • Welton Foundation Research Fellow 2003-2005
  • Arthritis Society, New Investigator Award 2005-2009
  • IMHA Quality of Life Award - CIHR/overall #1 ranked IMHA grant 2005
  • Early Researcher Award (Government of Ontario) 2006
  • reathe New Life Award (Ontario Lung Association) 2010

Editorial Board

  • Journal of Cell Communication and Signaling—editorial board, review editor 2007-
  • Scientific editor in chief 2010-
  • Open Rheumatology Journal—editorial board 2007-
  • Open Pathology Journal—editorial board 2007-
  • Fibrogenesis and Tissue Repair—editorial board 2007-
  • Open Cell Signaling—editorial board 2008-

Research Themes

  • Dr Leask was born in Vancouver, Canada where he obtained a BSc (First Class) in Biology from the University of British Columbia. He then obtained a PhD in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Chicago under the supervision of Elaine Fuchs. After postdoctoral studies with Dr Tim Stearns at Stanford, he was recruited to FibroGen, a start-up biotechnology company in the San Francisco Bay Area, by George Martin, to conduct research on fibrosis using scleroderma as a model system.
    His overall objective is to elucidate the signaling networks responsible for fibrotic disease, and, in particular, studies how TGFbeta, endothelin and CCN2 networks are connected. Recent studies have suggested that skin fibrosis requires the CCN2-mediated differentiation of skin progenitor cells.
    Dr Leask has published or has in press over 120 papers in the field of fibrosis, and collaborates with a wide variety of people internationally.

Selected Research Publications

  •   Liu S, Herault Y, Pavlovic G, Leask A.
    Skin progenitor cells contribute to bleomycin-induced skin fibrosis. 
    Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Nov 18. doi: 10.1002/art.38276. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Liu S, Leask A.
    CCN2 promotes hair follicle cycling in mice. Mol Biol Cell. 2013 Oct 23. [Epub ahead of print]  
  • Liu S, Parapuram SK, Leask A.
    Fibrosis Caused by Loss of PTEN Expression in Mouse Fibroblasts Is Crucially Dependent on CCN2.
    Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Nov;65(11):2940-4.
  • Bedore J, Sha W, McCann MR, Liu S, Leask A, Séguin CA.
      Impmpaired intervertebral disc development and premature disc degeneration in mice with notochord-specific deletion of CCN2.
    Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Oct;65(10):2634-44.  
  • Guo F, Carter DE, Leask A.
    Mechanical tension increases CCN2/CTGF expression and proliferation in gingival fibroblasts via a TGFβ-dependent mechanism.
    PLoS One. 2011;6(5):e19756.
  • Liu, S, Shiwen X, Abraham, DJ Leask A 2011.
    CCN2 is required for bleomycin-induced skin fibrosis,
    Arthritis Rheum., 63:239-46
  • Liu, S Shiwen X Blumbach K Eastwood M Eckes B Denton CP Krieg T Abraham DJ Leask A 2010
    Integrin beta1 expression by fibroblasts is required for tissue repair in vivo.
    J Cell Sci 123, 3674-82
  • Leask A 2010
    Potential therapeutic targets for cardiac fibrosis: TGFb, Angiotensin, endothelin, CCN2 and PDGF, partners in fibroblast activation
    Circ. Res., 106:1675-80
  • Kapoor, M., McCann M., Liu S., Huh K., Denton C.P., Abraham D.J., Leask A. 2009
    Loss of PPARgamma in mouse fibroblasts results in enhanced responsiveness to a mouse model of skin scleroderma.
    Arthritis Rheum. 60 2822-2829
  • Liu, S., Kapoor, M., Leask, A., 2009.
    Rac1 expression by fibroblasts is required for tissue repair in vivo.
    Am J. Pathol., 174:1847-56
  • Shi-wen X., Parapuram, S K, Pala, D, Chen Y, Carter, D, Eastwood, M, Abraham DJ Leask A. 2009.
    TGFb-induced a-smooth muscle actin expression and extracellular matrix contraction in fibroblasts requires TAK1.
    Arthritis Rheum. 60, 234-241
  • Leask, A., Shi-wen, X., Chen, Y., Khan, K., Eastwood, M., Black, C.M., Abraham, D.J. 2008
    Protein kinase C  is required for cutaneous wound closure and myofibroblast formation.
    J. Cell Sci. 121, 3459-67.
  • Pala, D., Kapoor, M., Woods A Kennedy, L., Liu, S., Chen, S., Bursell, L., Lyons, K., Carter, D., Beier, F, Leask, A. 2008.
    FAK/src suppresses early chondrogenesis: Central role of CCN2.
    J Biol Chem, 283: 9239-47.