The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

Frank B. Gertler

Professor Emeritus



KI Research Areas of Focus:

"The Gertler lab is interested in how interactions between tumor cells and the microenvironment contribute to metastasis and to therapeutic resistance.  We use cell biological approaches as well as mouse models."

The Gertler lab's work is profiled as part of the interactive exhibits in the Koch Institute Public Galleries.  Watch a web version of the story here.

Dr. Gertler is a Professor of Biology at MIT. He received his Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been presented with the following honors: the American Society for Cell Biology’s Early Career Life Scientist Award (2003), The W.M. Keck Foundation's Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research award (2000), and The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience’s McKnight Scholar Award (2000).

Further Information

Research Summary

The Gertler lab studies the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor cell invasion and metastasis.  Professor Gertler identified key regulators of cytoskeletal dynamics and cell adhesion that contribute to tumor progression and metastasis.  His lab uses cell biological and mouse modeling approaches to investigate how bi-directional signaling between tumor cells and their microenvironment impact metastasis and resistance to therapy.

Selected Publications

Acidification of Tumor at Stromal Boundaries Drives Transcriptome Alterations Associated with Aggressive Phenotypes.  Rohani N, Hao L, Alexis MS, Joughin BA, Krismer K, Moufarrej MN, Soltis AR, Lauffenburger DA, Yaffe MB, Burge CB, Bhatia SN, Gertler FB.  Cancer Res. 2019 Apr 15;79(8):1952-1966. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-1604. Epub 2019 Feb 12. PMID: 30755444

MENA Confers Resistance to Paclitaxel in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.  Oudin MJ, Barbier L, Schäfer C, Kosciuk T, Miller MA, Han S, Jonas O, Lauffenburger DA, Gertler FB. Mol Cancer Ther. 2017 Jan;16(1):143-155. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-16-0413. Epub 2016 Nov 3. PMID: 27811011

Tumor Cell-Driven Extracellular Matrix Remodeling Drives Haptotaxis during Metastatic Progression. Oudin MJ, Jonas O, Kosciuk T, Broye LC, Guido BC, Wyckoff J, Riquelme D, Lamar JM, Asokan SB, Whittaker C, Ma D, Langer R, Cima MJ, Wisinski KB, Hynes RO, Lauffenburger DA, Keely PJ, Bear JE, Gertler FB. Cancer Discov. 2016 May;6(5):516-31. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-15-1183. Epub 2016 Jan 25.  PMID: 26811325

MenaINV mediates synergistic cross-talk between signaling pathways driving chemotaxis and haptotaxis. Oudin MJ, Miller MA, Klazen JA, Kosciuk T, Lussiez A, Hughes SK, Tadros J, Bear JE, Lauffenburger DA, Gertler FB.  Mol Biol Cell. 2016 Oct 15;27(20):3085-3094. Epub 2016 Aug 24. PMID: 27559126

Characterization of the expression of the pro-metastatic Mena(INV) isoform during breast tumor progression.Oudin MJ, Hughes SK, Rohani N, Moufarrej MN, Jones JG, Condeelis JS, Lauffenburger DA, Gertler FB.  Clin Exp Metastasis. 2016 Mar;33(3):249-61. doi: 10.1007/s10585-015-9775-5. Epub 2015 Dec 17. PMID: 26680363

PTP1B-dependent regulation of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling by the actin-binding protein Mena. Hughes SK, Oudin MJ, Tadros J, Neil J, Del Rosario A, Joughin BA, Ritsma L, Wyckoff J, Vasile E, Eddy R, Philippar U, Lussiez A, Condeelis JS, van Rheenen J, White F, Lauffenburger DA, Gertler FB. Mol Biol Cell. 2015 Nov 1;26(21):3867-78. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E15-06-0442. Epub 2015 Sep 2. PMID: 26337385

Ena/VASP regulates mDia2-initiated filopodial length, dynamics, and function. Barzik M, McClain LM, Gupton SL, Gertler FB.  Mol Biol Cell. 2014 Sep 1;25(17):2604-19. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E14-02-0712. Epub 2014 Jul 2. PMID:2498979

Mena binds α5 integrin directly and modulates α5β1 function. Gupton SL, Riquelme D, Hughes-Alford SK, Tadros J, Rudina SS, Hynes RO, Lauffenburger D, Gertler FB. J Cell Biol. 2012 Aug 20;198(4):657-76. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201202079. PMID: 22908313

An EMT-driven alternative splicing program occurs in human breast cancer and modulates cellular phenotype. Shapiro IM, Cheng AW, Flytzanis NC, Balsamo M, Condeelis JS, Oktay MH, Burge CB, Gertler FB. PLoS Genet. 2011 Aug;7(8):e1002218. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002218. Epub 2011 Aug 18. PMID: 21876675

A Mena invasion isoform potentiates EGF-induced carcinoma cell invasion and metastasis.  Philippar U, Roussos ET, Oser M, Yamaguchi H, Kim HD, Giampieri S, Wang Y, Goswami S, Wyckoff JB, Lauffenburger DA, Sahai E, Condeelis JS, Gertler FB.  Dev Cell. 2008 Dec;15(6):813-28. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2008.09.003. PMID: 19081071

Search PubMed for Gertler lab publications