• Researcher Profile

    Jean Zhao, PhD

    Jean Zhao, PhD
    Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

    Office phone: 617-632-2932
    Email: jean_zhao@dfci.harvard.edu
    Website: Zhao Harvard Bio

    Preferred contact method: email

    Research Department

    Cancer Biology

    Area of Research

    Kinase signaling in cancer

    450 Brookline Avenue
    Smith 936B
    Boston, MA 02215


    Jean Zhao received her PhD from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1999. She did her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas M. Roberts, became an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 2003, and joined the faculty of DFCI and Harvard Medical School in 2006.


    Kinase signaling in cancer

    We are interested in how kinases in general, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3K) in particular, control malignant transformation. The work of our laboratory integrates molecular biology, tissue engineering and novel mouse models of human cancer to study oncogenic alterations in kinases that are involved in primary tumor formation and metastasis. In addition to our unique genetically engineered mouse models, we have developed a number of additional experimental systems, including, synthetic human tumors, and kinome-wide libraries of activated kinases to elucidate the mechanisms by which kinases function in cancer. We hope our studies will allow us to harness the potential of these molecules as specific targets for cancer therapies.

    Select Publications

    • Jia, S., Liu, Z., Zhang, S., Liu, P., Zhang, L., Lee, S.H., Zhang, J., Signoretti, S., Loda, M., Roberts, T.M. and Zhao, J.J. Essential roles of PI(3)K-p110b in cell growth, metabolism and tumorigenesis. Nature, 2008; 454:776-9. PMC2750091
    • Liu P., Cheng H., Roberts TM, and Zhao JJ. Targeting the phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathway in cancer. Nature Rev. Drug Discov. 2009 8(8):627-44
    • Sopasakis VR, Liu P, Suzuki R, Kondo T, Winnay J, Tran TT, Asano T, Smyth G, Sajan MP, Farese R.V, Kahn C.R, Zhao J.J. Specific roles of the p110alpha isoform of phosphatidylinsositol 3-kinase in hepatic insulin signaling and metabolic regulation. Cell Metab. 2010 Mar 3;11(3):220-30.
    • Liu P, Cheng H, Santiago S, Raeder M, Zhang F, Isabella A, Yang J, Semaan DJ, Chen C, Fox EA, Gray NS, Monahan J, Schlegel R, Beroukhim R, Mills GB, Zhao JJ.  Oncogenic PIK3CA-driven mammary tumors frequently recur via PI3K pathway-dependent and PI3K pathway-independent mechanisms. Nature Medicine. 2011 Aug 7;17(9):1116-20.  doi:10.1038/nm.2402 (NIHMS297795)
    • Utermark T, Rao T, Cheng H, Wang Q, Lee SH, Wang ZC, Iglehart JD, Roberts TM, Muller WJ, Zhao JJ. The p110α and p110β isoforms of PI3K play divergent roles in mammary gland development and tumorigenesis. Genes Dev. 2012 Jul 15;26(14):1573-86. doi: 10.1101/gad.191973.112.
    • Ni J, Liu Q, Xie S, Carlson C, Von T, Vogel K, Riddle S, Benes C, Eck M, Roberts T, Gray N, Zhao JJ. Functional characterization of an isoform-selective inhibitor of PI3K-p110β as a potential anticancer agent. Cancer Discov. 2012 May;2(5):425-33. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-12-0003.


    • Baitsch, Lukas, Ph.D.
    • Cheng, Hailing, Ph.D.
    • Goel, Shom, M.D., Ph.D.
    • Ni, Jing, Ph.D.
    • Wang, Qi "Theresa", Ph.D.
    • Wang, Yubao, Ph.D.
    • Xiang, Yi, Ph.D.
    • Yuzugullu, Haluk, Ph.D.
    • Thorpe, Lauren, Ph.D. Student
View Physician Directory

Find a Clinical Trial

Support Cancer

Give Now