BBS Faculty Member - Thomas Roberts

Thomas Roberts

Department of BCMP

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Smith Bldg., Rm. 970A
450 Brookline Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Tel: 617-632-3049
Fax: 617-632-4770
Lab Members: 1 scientist, 3 postdoctoral fellows, 2 graduate students

Research in the Roberts laboratory is centered on kinases, kinase inhibitors, and cancer. We work in a 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.  Our most recent thrust is targeted at understanding how PTEN loss activates the p110 beta isoform of PI3K, and utilizing this information to design improved therapies for PTEN null human tumors.

Last Update: 12/13/2016


For a complete listing of publications click here.



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

Hank H. Qi*, Madathia Sarkissian*, Arindam Bhattacharjee, Ben Gordon, Fei Lan, Maite Huarte, Nasser K. Yaghi, Huijun Lim, Leonardo Brizuela, Thomas M. Roberts#, & Yang Shi# (2010) The mental retardation gene PHF8 mediates histone H3K9/H4K20 demethylation and regulates zebrafish craniofacial development
Nature 466:503-7

Tamara Utermark, Trisha Rao, Hailing Cheng, Qi Wang, Sang Hyun Lee, Charles Zhigang Wang, J. Dirk Iglehart, Thomas M. Roberts, William J. Muller, and Jean J. Zhao1 2012 The p110
a and p110b isoforms of PI3K play divergent roles in mammary gland development and tumorigenesis Genes & Development;26(14):1573-86

Shidong Jia, Xueliang Gao, Sang Hyun Lee, Sauveur-Michel Maira, Xiaoqiu Wu, Edward C. Stack, Sabina Signoretti, Massimo Loda, Jean J. Zhao and Thomas M. Roberts 2013 Opposing Effects of Androgen Deprivation and Targeted Therapy on Prostate Cancer Prevention
Cancer Discov; 3(1); 1–8.

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of Harvard College