Sonia Sharma, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Center for Autoimmunity and Inflammation, Center for Cancer Immunotherapy
"We’re trying to harness the potential of the genome. At our Center, you can systematically dissect the genome by simultaneously conducting thousands of automated experiments to learn how genes function in relation to a given biological system of interest. I think that’s incredibly exciting."


Sonia Sharma’s current research focuses on using unbiased, genome-scale approaches to unravel innate immunity, the body’s early immune response to microbial pathogens and neoplastic cells, which has also been implicated as a common causal factor in many inflammatory, allergic and autoimmune diseases. She integrates cutting-edge genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, computational and translational approaches to define the key genetic mechanisms regulating cellular innate immunity, and determine how they impact human health and disease.

Dr. Sharma has an outstanding record of research accomplishments, including high impact discoveries published in top scientific journals. Her work has made her an internationally recognized expert in the use of high throughput, genome scale approaches, in particular RNA interference and CRISPR/Cas9, to dissect complex cellular signaling pathways and questions of immunological relevance. Her use of these technologies is a powerful tool that can be applied to any cellular pathway or disease process.

Dr. Sharma was instrumental in establishing the Institute’s Functional Genomics Center, which she currently directs, and she is channeling her expertise to further her own research program. Her work, particularly her studies of anti-viral and anti-tumor type 1 interferon signaling, which incorporates work with human genetics and biosamples, will be instrumental in understanding how genes contribute to human health and disease.

Featured publications

Show more publications

Lab Members


Research Projects

Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Novel Interferonopathies

In addition to their protective role against microbial pathogens and neoplastic cells, high levels of circulating type I Interferon are

New Molecular Players in the cGAS-STING Pathway of Anti-Viral and Anti-Tumor Defense

Cell-free, immuno-stimulatory DNA is recognized in the cytoplasm of cells as a universal danger signal by the innate immune system.

Targeting Tumor Endothelium for Cancer Surveillance and Immunotherapy

Preliminary data from our lab shows that vascular endothelial cells (vECs) mount remarkably potent innate responses to cell-free DNA, which


From the lab

Apr 23, 2021 Immune Matters
Learning from men. Learning from women.

Men and women have different immune systems. With a better understanding of sex-specific immune differences, scientists can more effectively fight infections, cancers, heart disease, and even pregnancy complications.

Read More
Show More

Awards & Honors

  • 2008 Special Fellow Award, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • 2008 Outstanding Presentation Award, Immune Disease Institute Annual Retreat
  • 2007 Outstanding Presentation Award, Immune Disease Institute Annual Retreat
  • 2005 Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award, CIHR
  • 2004 Wilfred Yaphe Award, McGill University Graduate
  • 2004 Dean’s Honors, McGill University Graduate
  • 2002 Ph.D. Studentship Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • 2000 Masters Studentship Award, Fonds en Recherche en Santé du Quebec
  • 1999 First Class Honors, McGill University Undergraduate