BBS Faculty Member - Thomas Roberts

Thomas Roberts

Department of BCMP

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Smith Building, Room 970
44 Binney Street
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617-632-3049
Fax: 617-632-4770
Lab Members: 8 postdoctoral fellows, 2 graduate students

Research in the Roberts laboratory is centered kinases, kinase inhibitors, and cancer. We work in wide variety of model systems and utilize approaches varying from systems biology to mouse genetics. For instance we have adapted telomerase immortalized breast and prostate epithelial cells to take a systems approach to kinases and phosphatases. For years we have been working with Novartis to develop kinase inhibitors and we use these extensively in our model systems. Working with the lab of Jean Zhao, we have utilized the first kinome-wide libraries of activated kinases to seek mechanisms of inhibitor resistance. We also have drilled down on several key signaling molecules, which we have shown to lie downstream from activated tyrosine kinases. Our current work centers on PI3 kinases and their inhibitors. In addition to working to understand the PI3 kinase pathway in greater detail in epithelial cells, we have generated conditional mouse knock out models of the key p110 isoforms as well as transgenic mice expressing activated alleles of p110s to study the involvement of the various PI3K isoforms in development aging and cancer.

Last Update: 8/22/2013


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Zhao JJ, Gjoerup OV, Subramanian RR, Cheng Y, Chen W, Roberts TM, Hahn WC (2003). Human mammary epithelial cell transformation through the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Cancer Cell 3:483-95.

Zhao JJ, Cheng H, Jia S, Wang L, Mikami A, and Roberts TM (2006). The p110a isoform of PI3K is essential for proper growth factor signaling and oncogenic transformation.
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA; 103(44): 16296-300.

Shidong Jia 1,2,* , Zhenning Liu1,2,*, Sen Zhang1,2,*, Pixu Liu1,2,*, Lei Zhang1,2, Sang Hyun Lee1,2, Jing Zhang1,2, Sabina Signoretti2,4, Massimo Loda2,4, Thomas M. Roberts1,2, and Jean J. Zhao1, 3 (2008) Kinase-dependent and -independent functions of the p110β phosphoinositide-3-kinase in cell growth, metabolic regulation and oncogenic transformation
Nature; 454(7205):776-9

Liu P, Cheng H, Roberts TM, Zhao JJ. (2009) Targeting the phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathway in cancer.
Nat Rev Drug Discov.; 8(8):627-44

© 2013 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College