Sandro Santagata
Tumor biology


My laboratory is focused on making substantive improvements in the care of patients with brain tumors. We have two major areas of focus. First, we seek to determine the molecular drivers of brain tumors and uncover new therapeutic targets, and are using genomic tools in our studies to develop a range of diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic biomarkers and cell line models of brain tumors. We are designing and conducting precision medicine clinical trials in this area. Second, we are interested in a fundamental problem in tumor biology: how tumor cells develop their most aggressive behaviors and the mechanisms by which they resist therapy.

One biological program that we focus on in this area is a potent adaptive mechanism known as the heat shock response. Our work has revealed that highly aggressive tumors across a broad range of tumor types co-opt the activity of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), the dominant transcriptional regulator of this ancient survival program. The HSF1 transcriptional program differs when activated in cancer versus when it is activated in response to heat shock; we are exploring how and why in a variety of tumor types.

I am an Assistant Professor in Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and practice surgical and molecular pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, specializing in the diagnosis of brain tumors. I have three children and live in West Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts.


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

T 617 632 3985
F 617 632 3408


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