PhD, 1983, Michigan State University
BS, 1977, University of California, Berkeley
The Blenis lab studies biochemical mechanisms that coordinate extracellular cues, intracellular signaling pathways, and metabolic processes to regulate cellular bioenergetics and redox regulation, mRNA metabolism, protein synthesis and gene expression. The lab has helped to define major signaling pathways, including Ras/ERK/RSK and PI3K/Akt, and has performed extensive analyses of mTOR, a checkpoint kinase that deftly integrates signals emanating from growth factors and environmental conditions to guide cellular decisions. These studies have supported the identification of cancer-associated biomarkers and therapeutic targets including several kinases and metabolic enzymes. The lab is also investigating the molecular mechanisms leading to the development of drug resistance to targeted therapies with the goal of discovering how to overcome resistance. As part of this program, they have developed and completed several small molecule screens that have revealed potential combination approaches for selectively killing cancer cells.