Gail Sonenshein, PhD


Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology



BS, Chemistry, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute
PhD, Biology, MIT
Postdoctoral Training, Institut de Recherche Scient sur le Cancer; Tufts University School of Medicine


Campus: Boston
Office: Jaharis 808
Laboratory: Jaharis 801

Contact Information

Office Phone: 617-636-4091
Lab Phone: 617-636-4061
E-mail   Send an e-mail


Research Website  Lab Research Page
Recent Publications  Abstract in PubMed

Graduate Programs

Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology


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

Nora Mineva, Research Associate Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page

Apply to the Sackler School


The priority application deadlines are as follows:

December 1: Basic Science Division PhD Programs

February 15: Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences

March 31: Post-Baccalaureate Research Program

May 1: Clinical & Translational Science, MS in Pharmacology & Drug Development