The Toker Laboratory



Welcome to the Toker lab home page


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. The 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.

Recent Lab News
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  1. BulletThe lab bids farewell to Tiffany Tsang, who will be starting graduate school at U Penn! Best of luck Tiffany, we will miss you!

  1. BulletThe lab welcomes Hui Liu, Instructor in Medicine, and KangKang Yang, Research Assistant, as the newest members of the Toker lab! Welcome!!

  1. BulletThe lab welcomes Laura Ghisolfi, new Senior Research Associate. Welcome Laura!

  1. BulletBanner event! Whitney Henry was married to Joel Durand in a

     beautiful ceremony in St. Lucia, June 11!! Congrats to the lovely couple!

  1. BulletAlex was awarded a new R01 grant from the NCI on:

     Exploiting Metabolic Vulnerabilities in the PI3K and Akt

     Pathway in Cancer for Therapeutic Benefit

  1. BulletAlex gave a seminar at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the

    Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, May 24.

  1. BulletAlex gave a talk at the FASEB Science Research Conference

     Cell Signaling in Cancer: From Mechanisms to Therapy in Snowmass, CO.

  1. BulletWhitney Henry received her PhD From Harvard University during the 2106

    Commencement Exercises!!

  1. BulletPaper Published! Lien EC, Lyssiotis CA, Juvekar A, Hu H, Asara JM, Cantley LC, Toker A. Glutathione biosynthesis is a metabolic vulnerability in PI(3)K/Akt-driven breast cancer. Nat Cell Biol. 2016 May;18(5):572-8. doi: 10.1038/ncb3341.

        See the BIDMC press release and other press here (Science Daily) and here (HMS).  

  1. BulletPaper Published! Maria Mancini, Evan Lien and Alex Toker. Oncogenic ATK1(E17K) mutation induces mammary hyperplasia but prevents HER2-driven tumorigenesis. Oncotarget 2016, DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.8191

        The paper made the cover, and you can also see an interview with Alex and Maria here!

  1. BulletThe lab welcomes Sneha Dutta from the Harvard School of Public Health for her PhD rotation!

  1. BulletThe lab welcomes Caterina Vianello, from the University of Padova, joining the lab for 6 months. Welcome Caterina! 

  1. BulletReview published! Renee Geck and Alex Toker. Nonessential Amino Acid Metabolism in Cancer. Advances in Biological Regulation, 2016: Jan 21.pii: S2212-4926(15)30042-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbior.2016.01.001.

  1. BulletEvan Lien has been awarded an Albert J. Ryan Fellowship for 2016. Congratulations Evan!

  1. Bullet Lab Baby!! Alex Toker and Nicole Homeier welcomed a beautiful baby girl,

     Leyla Lea Homeier-Toker.

  1. BulletAlex gave a seminar at Hokkaido University, Institute for Genetic Medicine,

    Sapporo, Japan, on January 29 2016.


  1. BulletAlex gave a talk at the ABR special International Symposium on

     Phospholipid-related Signaling in Physiology and Pathology in

     Gyeongiu, South Korea on December 11 2015.

  1. BulletAlex gave a seminar at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of

     Science and Technology) on December 10, 2015

  1. BulletToker lab Christmas sweater day 2015 ~ Magnificent!!

  1. BulletAlex gave a seminar at the University of Pennsylvania

    School of Medicine in the Department of Cancer Biology on November 10 ,2015.  

  1. BulletBanner event!! Whitney Henry defended her PhD Thesis in the Biological

     and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at HMS on October 16, 2015!!

     Congratulations Dr. Henry!!

  1. BulletAlex gave a seminar at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in the Department of

     Oncological Sciences, New York City, October 20 2015.

  1. BulletThe lab bids farewell to Kali Ferrell, Toker lab manager who is moving

    back to Seattle to pursue new and exciting adventures. Best of luck Kali!!

  1. BulletPreview published! Toker A, Rameh L. PIPPing on AKT1: How Many Phosphatases Does It Take to Turn off PI3K? Cancer Cell. 2015 Aug 10;28(2):143-5.

  1. BulletAlex gave a talk at the FASEB Science Research Conference on Protein Kinases and Protein Phosphorylation in Itasca, IL, July 19-24.

  1. BulletThe lab bids farewell to Emilie Clement, who is joining CPC Scientific.

      Best of luck Emilie!

  1. BulletThe lab welcomes Renee Geck who joins the Toker lab for her PhD!

  1. BulletToker lab Summer Fun Day at Kimball Farm!! Friday June 26.

      Mini golf, bumper boats, ice cream and more!

  1. BulletAlex was featured in an ASBMB Today father’s day piece about scientists dads!

  1. BulletPaper published! Kristin K. Brown, Laleh Montaser-Kouhsari, Andrew H. Beck, Alex Toker.

     MERIT40 is an Akt substrate that Promotes Resolution of DNA Damage Induced by Chemotherapy.

     Cell Reports 11, 1-9, June 9 2015.

  1. BulletThe lab welcomes Rubye Peyser and Kelsey Gallant, undergraduate

     summer interns in the Toker lab.

  1. BulletWhitney Henry was awarded a Women in Cancer Research (WICR)

     Scholar Award at the AACR Annual Meeting in Philadelphia! Congrats Whitney!!

  1. BulletAlex Toker, Kristin Brown and Whitney Henry attended the Annual AACR

    Meeting in Philadelphia, April 18-22 2015. Alex chaired a mini-symposium,

    and Kristin and Whitney presented posters!

  1. BulletWhitney Henry has been busy! She presented posters at the New England Science Symposium (April 11, 2015), the 11th Annual Junior Investigators’ Health Disparities Research Poster Session at DF/HCC (May 7th 2015) and the Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering Symposium (April 25, 2015).

  1. BulletAbbe Clark has been awarded an F31 pre-doctoral fellowship from the NIH!

     Congratulations Abbe!

  1. BulletPaper published! Kaunisto A, Henry WS, Montaser-Kouhsari L, Jaminet SC ,

     Oh EY, Zhao L, Luo HR, Beck AH, Toker A. NFAT1 promotes intratumoral

     neutrophil infiltration by regulating IL8 expression in breast cancer.

     Mol Oncol. 2015 Feb 19. pii: S1574-7891(15)00027-7.

     doi: 10.1016/j.molonc.2015.02.004.

  1. BulletEvan Lien has been awarded a Cell and Developmental Biology Training Program Award from HMS! Congrats Evan!!

  1. BulletReview published! Brown, K. and Toker, A. The Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase Pathway and Therapy Resistance in Cancer.  F1000Prime Rep2015, 7:13 (doi: 10.12703/P7-13)

  1. BulletAlex, Evan, Christian and Kristin attended the Keystone Symposia on ‘PI 3-Kinase Signaling Pathways in Disease’ in Vancouver, Canada, January 13-18. Alex gave a talk and Evan and Kristin had posters.

Archived News