The Toker Laboratory


Alex Toker is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Signal Transduction and Associate Director of the Cancer Research Institute in the 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.

We welcome inquiries from graduate students and postdocs. We are seeking highly motivated, collaborative trainees with an interest in studying the regulation and effects of oncogenic signaling in cancer. If you are a graduate student, please email Alex about your research interests. If you are seeking a postdoc position, please email us with your CV, three reference contacts, and research interests.

Review published! ‘PI3K Signaling Through a Biochemical Systems Lens’ By Alex and Ralitsa Madsen

Alex gave a keynote address at Biochemical Society meeting on ‘The PI3K-AKT-mTOR-PTEN pathway: a new era in basic research and clinical translation’, Barcelona, Spain, September 13-15.

Alex gave a keynote address at the annual meeting of the Italian Society of Anatomy and Histology, Modena, Italy, September 11.

Annual lab hike to the Blue Hills in Canton, MA!

The lab welcome Emma Lecky, new PhD student in the

BBS program, who joins the lab for her thesis research!

The lab welcome Isabella Del Priore, new PhD student

in the BBS program, who joins the lab for her thesis research!

The lab welcome Maggie Dreishpoon, new PhD student

in the BBS program, who joins the lab for her thesis research!  

Alissandra gave a talk at the Salk Institute meeting

on Mechanisms and Models of Cancer, August 1-4.

Alex gave a talk the conference on Breast Cancer:

New Horizons Current Controversies, sponsored

by the DFCI, on July 20 at the Westin, Boston.

The lab welcomes Isabella Ranieri who joins the lab

as the new Toker lab manager and research assistant!

The annual Toker/Dibble/Manning labs retreat at

Oliver Lodge, NH, June 6-8! Three days of science, fun and games.

Alex gave a talk at the Gordon Research Conference on ‘Mammary Gland Biology’ in Mount Snow, VT, on May 28.

Alex gave a talk at McGill University, Montreal,

for the Annual Biochemistry Research Day on April 19th

A banner day in the Toker Lab! Alissandra Hillis

defended her PhD Thesis in the BBS Program at

Harvard Medical School, on ‘Exploiting Signaling

Signatures in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer to

Identify Targetable Vulnerabilities’ on March 20th 2023.

Congratulations Dr. Alissandra Hillis!!

The lab bids farewell to Taylor Woodward who moves on to graduate school in Australia!

Alex and Adrija attended the ASBMB Annual Meeting, DiscoverBMB, in Seattle March 25-28. Alex hosted the annual JBC Editorial Board meeting, and Adrija gave a trainee oral presentation and received an ASBMB travel award!

Alex gave a talk in the Department of Molecular Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School, March 30th

Alex gave a talk at Pathology Grand Rounds at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond VA, March 6th

Alex attended the Association of University Pathologists annual meeting in Guanacaste, CR, February 24-27.

Alex gave a talk at the Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, February 7th

Alex gave a talk at the UCSF Cancer Center, January 20th

Sam Barritt is leaving the lab having accepted a position at DEM BioPharma! Best of luck Sam!


Paper Published!! Congratulations to Christian Dibble and Sam Barritt for a tour de force!

Dibble CC, Barritt SA, Perry GE, Lien EC, Geck RC, DuBois-Coyne SE, Bartee D, Zengeya TT, Cohen EB, Yuan M, Hopkins BD, Meier JL, Clohessy JG, Asara JM, Cantley LC, Toker A. PI3K drives the de novo synthesis of coenzyme A from vitamin B5. Nature. 2022 Aug;608(7921):192-198.

PDF freely available here.

Toker/Manning/Dibble annual lab hike to the Blue Hills,  August 18! With a pit stop at Trillium!

The lab bids farewell to Emily Erickson, who moves on after her PhD to a new position at Blueprint Medicines. Best of  luck Emily!  

The lab welcomes Emmalyn Lecky, for her first BBS rotation  in the Toker lab. Welcome Emma!

Alex, Emily and Sam attended the FASEB SRC on Protein Kinases and Protein Phosphorylation in Oak Island, Nova Scotia, June 19-24.  Alex was a co-organizer Emily and Sam presented posters and short talks!

The Toker/Manning/Dibble labs retreat is back! After a 2 year  hiatus, the labs reconvened for 3 days of science and fun at the Oliver Lodge, NH, June 15-17.

Summer is here! May 28, first lab BBQ of the season!

The lab welcomes Taylor Woodward, Research Assistant and newest member of the Toker lab. Welcome Taylor!

A banner day! May 26, HMS Commencement 2022, where Dr. Renee Geck (PhD 2020) and Dr. Emily Erickson (PhD 2022) formally received their doctorate degrees!  

The lab welcomes Ralitsa Madsen from UCL for a 3 month visit to the lab!

The lab welcomes Shamya Noeen, undergrad summer intern!  

Alex, Josefina, Tash and Alissandra attended the FASEB SRC on Cell Signaling in Cancer in New Orleans, May 15-19.  Alex gave a talk, Alissandra and Tash presented posters,  and Alissandra won a best poster prize!

The lab welcomes new BBS rotation student Jasmine Garcia for her Toker lab rotation. Welcome Jasmine!

Alex gave a remote seminar at Virginia Commonwealth  University on May 10.

Alex and Adrija attended the annual ASBMB and Experimental Biology 2022 meeting in Philadelphia, March 2-5. Alex gave the 2022 Avanti Award Lipids award lecture. Alex was also

inaugurated into the 2022 Class of ASBMB Fellows.

Alex attended the annual Pluto Society (American Association of North American University Pathologists) meeting in Amelia Island, Florida, March 19.

A banner day in the Toker Lab! Emily Erickson defended her PhD Thesis in the BBS Program at Harvard Medical School, on ‘Targeting the PI3K/AKT Pathway Using pan-AKT Degraders’

on February 16th 2022. Congratulations Dr. Emily Erickson!!

We have made a lab video!

Click here to view a new video on the people and the research in the Toker lab, circa 2021.

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