Alex Kentsis: Research Overview


Our studies in cancer biology and pediatric oncology are focused on cellular plasticity, a phenomenon that relates both to the fundamental mechanisms of cancer pathogenesis and to the development of improved rational therapies. Detailed information about our research is available at

Currently, our work is focused on refractory leukemias and solid tumors. We are interested in understanding the principles by which the genomes and proteomes of these tumors are disorganized, and in determining the molecular mechanisms of response and adaptation of tumor cells to targeted therapies.

To answer these questions, we are developing functional genomics and mass spectrometry proteomics approaches to decipher the mechanisms of genomic plasticity and adaptive signaling. Using protein engineering techniques, we rationally design and develop precisely targeted cancer therapeutic agents.

This research program leverages proteomics to develop improved biologic therapies, computational modeling to define oncogenic mechanisms, and faithful mouse models to determine biological functions and guide clinical trials of improved treatments, particularly for children with refractory cancers. Research in the lab is organized into three related areas:

  • Genomic plasticity and somatic DNA transposases and nucleases in developmental cancers 
  • Epigenetic signaling and its therapeutic blockade in leukemias and solid tumors
  • High-accuracy mass spectrometry for the discovery and drugging of cancer cell proteomes

Please visit for more information about our research.