Anthony Letai
Tumor biology


I received my MD and PhD from the University of Chicago. My PhD thesis, supervised by Elaine Fuchs, examined the role of point mutations in keratin proteins in heritable blistering diseases. I then completed clinical training in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, after which I walked across the street to do a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This is where I was introduced to apoptosis and the BCL-2 family proteins as a post-doctoral researcher in the laboratory of the late Stanley Korsmeyer.

In 2004, I became an independent investigator at the Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where I am now an Associate Professor of Medicine. My lab studies how apoptosis can be evaded, particularly in cancer cells, and how this evasion may be detected and targeted. Key to these studies is a novel assay we call BH3 profiling, which can detect the blocks cancer cells use to evade apoptosis and cells that are dependent on BCL-2. It can also be used as a summary measure of how close a cell is to the threshold of apoptosis. We have found that proximity to this threshold correlates with better response to chemotherapy in the clinic. The laboratory will be testing whether BH3 profiling can be used as a predictive biomarker in clinical cancer therapy.

In my free time, I like to play soccer, tennis and music, and hang around the house to irritate my lovely wife, three kids and dog.


Ludwig Center at Harvard
450 Brookline Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. 02215

T 617 632 3985
F 617 632 3408


You are now leaving Ludwig Cancer Research's website and are going to a website that is not operated by the association. We are not responsible for the content or availability of linked sites. Do you wish to continue?