The Toker Laboratory


Alex Toker is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, and Chief of the Division of Signal Transduction in Departments of Medicine, Pathology and Cancer Center. The lab has membership in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences PhD Program, the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, and the Ludwig Center at Harvard.


Our research focuses on the cell and molecular biology of cancer. We are investigating the mechanisms by which signaling pathways impact tumor cell survival, invasion and metastasis. We are also studying metabolic alterations in tumor cells and how these lead to vulnerabilities that can be used to target tumors with specific therapies.  Our goal is to decipher the complex mechanisms by which these pathways impact cancer progression, with the ultimate goal of developing drugs that interfere with malignancy.

Paper published! Congrats to Emilie Clement! Skp2-dependent reactivation of AKT drives resistance to PI3K inhibitors. Emilie Clement,  Hiroyuki Inuzuka, Naoe T. Nihira, Wenyi Wei, Alex Toker. Science Signaling 2018: Vol. 11, Issue 521, eaao3810 DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aao3810

    View the Summary, Abstract, Full Text and download PDF.




Toker Lab Annual Ski trip at Waterville Valley, NH, March 5th 2018!

Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, drinks and only one minor injury!

See more pics here.



Renee Geck and recent Toker lab alumni Evan Lien and Kristin Brown attended and presented posters at the Keystone Symposium on Tumor Metabolism in SnowBird, Utah, January 21 2018.


The lab welcomes Adrija Navarro for her second rotation in the BBS program. Welcome Adrija!




Paper published!! Congrats to Evan Lien!  Oncogenic PI3K promotes methionine dependency in breast cancer cells through the cystine-glutamate antiporter xCTEvan C. Lien, Laura Ghisolfi, Renee C. Geck, John M. Asara and Alex Toker. Sci. Signal.  19 Dec 2017: Vol. 10, Issue 510

        Also read the press release by the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research


Alex gave a talk at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute on December 18.


Paper published!! Congrats to Hui Liu!   Liu H, Murphy CJ, Karreth FA, Emdal KB, White FM, Elemento O, Toker A, Wulf GM, Cantley LC. Identifying and Targeting Sporadic Oncogenic Genetic Aberrations in Mouse Models of Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Cancer Discov. 2017 Dec 4. pii:CD-17-0679. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-17-0679.


Alex gave a talk at Case Western Reserve University, November 5


Alex gave a talk in the Department of Pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine, October 11.


Christian Dibble has been promoted to Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School!! He will be starting his own lab in the Dept. Pathology at BIDMC. Congrats Christian!


First annual Manning/Toker labs retreat at Oliver Lodge

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, Sept 19-21!



The lab welcomes Sam Barritt, PhD student in the HMS

BBS graduate program, for his first lab rotation.

Welcome Sam!




Alex gave a talk at the FASEB Science Research Conference on Protein Kinases and Protein Phosphorylation at Robinson College, Cambridge University, UK, August 6-11.


The lab welcomes Emily Erickson who has joined the lab for her PhD in the BBS Program. Welcome back Emily!


The lab welcomes Richard Thornton who joins the lab as a post-baccalaureate student enrolled at Harvard University. Welcome Richard!


The lab welcomes Emily Erickson for her rotation in the HMS BBS Program. Welcome Emily!


The lab welcomes Tiara Lacey who joins the lab as part of her

internship for the 2018 SHURP Program at HMS. Welcome Tiara!


Evan Lien received his PhD From Harvard University during the

2107 Commencement Exercises!!


The lab bids farewell to Francisco Beca and

Ozlem Senol-Cosar who move on to new adventures. Best of luck!


Review published! Manning BD, Toker A. AKT/PKB Signaling:

Navigating the Network. Cell. 2017 Apr  20;169(3):381-405. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.04.001. 


Alex is featured in a video on the whizzo new JBC web page!


Another review published!  Lien EC, Dibble CC, Toker A. PI3K signaling in cancer: beyond AKT. Current Opinion in  Cell Biology. 2017 Mar 23;45:62-71. doi: 10.1016/


Paper published! Brown KK, Spinelli JB, Asara JM, Toker A. Adaptive Reprogramming of De Novo  Pyrimidine Synthesis Is a Metabolic Vulnerability in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Cancer Discov. 2017 Mar 2. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-16-0611.

BIDMC press release here, and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research press release here.


Alex gave a talk in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine on March 2.


Renee has been awarded an F31 graduate student fellowship from the National Cancer Institute. Congrats Renee!!


Alex gave a talk in the Department of Biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine on February 6.


Alex gave a talk at Loyola University Chicago and the Stritch School of Medicine on January 18.


The lab welcomes Francisco Beca, Instructor in Pathology and expert in precision cancer diagnostics. Welcome Francisco!


Evan Lien has left the lab and joined the laboratory of Matthew Vander Heiden at MIT/Koch Institute, Best of luck Evan!!


Whitney Henry has left the lab and joined the laboratory of Bob Weinberg at MIT/Whitehead Institute. Best of luck Whitney!!




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