Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Dr. Roberts is a Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and serves as Co-Chairman for the Department of Cancer Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Roberts received his PhD from Harvard University where he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship. Dr Roberts’ laboratory has played a key role in the study of signal transduction and its translation into cancer therapy. The first definitive studies on phosphoinositide 3 (PI3) kinase were done by the Roberts lab in collaboration with the lab of Lewis Cantley. In addition, the Roberts lab pioneered studies on the regulation of the serine/threonine kinase, Raf-1, and first characterized the interaction of 14-3-3 molecules with key signal transducers including Raf-1. Due to the importance of PI3 kinase in human cancer, Roberts has studied it in detail, collaborating with Jean Zhao to generate conditional knockout mice for the commonly expressed catalytic subunits of PI3K. The end goal of these studies, determining which isoforms to target in specific cancers, underlies the superior performance of isoform-specific inhibitors in the clinic. Moreover, Zhao and Roberts gained a new understanding of a surprising functional specialization in the two enzymes (termed p110 and p110): p110 plays the major role in receptor tyrosine kinase and ras signaling, while p110 plays the major part in GPCR signaling and in tumors arising from PTEN loss. Notably Dr Roberts’ basic research on tyrosine kinases carried out by Drs. Brian Druker and Helen Piwnica-Worms facilitated the kinase inhibitor program at Ciba Geigy, which led to the first successful tyrosine kinase cancer therapeutic, Gleevec. Similarly, his research collaborations on PI3 kinase has facilitated the development of multiple classes of PI3Kinase inhibitors
Research in the Roberts laboratory is centered on the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction in response to activated tyrosine kinases.
For a most up to date list of publications, please see this link.