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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Gail Sonenshein

Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology
Gail Sonenshein

Gail Sonenshein

Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology

Office phone: 617-636-4091
Lab phone: 617-636-4061
Campus: Boston
Office: Jaharis 808
Laboratory: 
Jaharis 801
Education: 
BS, Chemistry, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute
PhD, Biology, MIT
Postdoctoral Training, Institut de Recherche Scient sur le Cancer; Tufts University School of Medicine
Research synopsis: 

I maintain an active research program and participate in graduate training through teaching. I no longer accept dissertation students.

For over 25 years, our research has focused on elucidating the roles of nuclear oncogenes and their targets in cancer, with a particular focus on breast cancer. My group made seminal contributions to our understanding of the Myc oncogene, including the first demonstration of dysregulated cell cycle control of c-Myc gene expression in cancers driven by Ras signaling and the discovery that transcription of c-Myc is regulated by nuclear NF-κB. In paradigm-shifting discoveries, we found that the NF-κB family of transcription factors is aberrantly active in breast cancer and promotes tumor cell survival. More recently we identified the cell surface transmembrane ADAM8 sheddase protein, which is non-essential under physiological conditions, as a downstream target of an NF-κB signaling pathway. Importantly, we showed that ADAM8 is an independent predictor of poor clinical outcome, and a driver of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) growth and metastasis. High levels of ADAM8 (ADAM8+) were detected in 34% of TNBC patients and in 48% of all breast cancer metastases but absent in normal breast tissue. Orthotopic and cardiac mouse models validated the transmembrane ADAM8 protein as a promising, accessible, novel target for antibody-based therapy of TNBC and metastatic breast disease. Work is in progress to bring an anti-ADAM8 antibody to the clinic for cancer therapy and to elucidate the roles of ADAM8 in environmental carcinogenesis and in the regulation of miRNA expression.

Lab members: