HMS Virology

Virology Faculty Member - Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts

Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Smith Bldg., Rm. 970A
44 Binney St.
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617-632-3049
Fax: 617-632-4770

Research in the Roberts laboratory is centered on kinases and kinase inhibitors in cancer. We work in a variety of model systems and utilize approaches varying from systems biology to knockout mice. In many cases the impetus for this work comes from studies on SV40 and polyoma tumor antigens. For instance by examining the role of small t in transformation of HMEC, we have adapted telomerase immortalized breast and prostate epithelial cells to take a systems biology 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. Thus we can study sensitivity to inhibitors in epithelial cells or murine tumors to find genes which render animals and tumors more or less sensitive to those inhibitors. PI3 kinase (first identified by the Cantley and Roberts labs as a middle t antigen target) is a particular interest of the lab. In addition to working to understand the PI3 kinase pathway in greater detail in epithelial cells, we have generated mouse knockouts of the major PI3K isoforms to study the involvement of PI3K in prostate breast, and brain cancer models. Results from these KO studies are directing the course of current clinical trials of PI3K inhbitors.

Last Update: 10/22/2013


Jean J Zhao, Ole V. Gjoerup, Romesh R. Subramanian, Yuan Cheng, Wen Chen, Thomas M. Roberts, and William C. Hahn 2003 Human mammary epithelial cell transformation through the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase Cancer Cell 3(5):483-95.

Shidong Jia , Zhenning Liu, Sen Zhang, Pixu Liu, Lei Zhang, Sang Hyun Lee, Jing Zhang, Sabina Signoretti, Massimo Loda, Thomas M. Roberts, and Jean J. Zhao (2008) Kinase-dependent and -independent functions of the p110β phosphoinositide-3-kinase in cell growth, metabolic regulation and oncogenic transformation Nature 454:776-780

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. Zhao 2012 The p110
and p110 isoforms of PI3K play divergent roles in mammary gland development and tumorigenesis Genes & Development 26:1573-86

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