Explore how novel research and development efforts are changing the way we as a society think about cancer now and how we might address it in the future.

Normal cells transformed into cancerous ones


Cancer is a disease, or set of diseases, in which abnormal cells in the body experience uncontrolled growth, and is associated with extreme morbidity and mortality. The National Institutes of Health estimates the direct and indirect costs of cancer in the United States to reach more than $173 billion. Given the staggering personal and economic toll cancer exacts on us all, it’s not surprising that enormous resources are dedicated to the quest for discoveries that will not only enhance our understanding of this constellation of diseases but also lead to breakthroughs in prevention, detection, and treatment. Explore how novel research and development efforts are changing the way we as a society think about cancer now and how we might address it in the future.


David Sabatini (Whitehead, MIT, HHMI) 1: Introduction to mTOR and the Regulation of Growth

David Sabatini outlines the critical role of mTOR in the regulation of growth. mTOR senses nutrient levels, growth factors and other signals and integrates a response to regulate cell growth.



Naama Kanarek, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Whitehead Member David Sabatini, explains how new genetic tools are allowing insights into the sensitivity of cancer cells to methotrexate and discusses how research might help address some of the challenges of methotrexate chemotherapy treatment.



Learn how Institute Member Richard Young’s lab is transforming our model of gene regulation by uncovering the role of droplets of transcription machinery in activating genes. The video features Young as well as postdocs Alessandra Dall’Agnese, Ben Sabari, Ann Boija, and Isaac Klein.

Whitehead Institute Founding Member Robert Weinberg

From his discovery of the first oncogene and tumor suppressor, to his work revealing critical aspects of the mutational basis of cancer, and more recently its metastatic behavior, Whitehead Founding Member Robert Weinberg’s work has been foundational in our understanding of cancer biology. 

As a graduate student, Whitehead Member David Sabatini identified mTOR, the keystone molecule in a cellular pathway connecting nutrition, metabolism, and disease. In this episode of AudioHelicase, he discusses how the molecule was first discovered and what his lab is currently working on, including mTOR's role in cancer, diabetes, and aging.

Alicia Zamudio, a graduate student in Whitehead Institute Member Richard Young's lab

Graduate student Alicia Zamudio from Whitehead Institute Member Richard Young’s lab shares her story of moving from Mexico to the U.S. to study psychology and become a writer — until she discovered a new passion that seemed like something out of science fiction.

Photo of Summer Morrill of the Amon Lab

Graduate student Summer Morrill from Angelika Amon’s lab tells us how her interest in cancer had her on track to become a genetic counselor, helping people process challenging diagnoses — until she realized how she could make a difference in another way, by studying the most fundamental of cellular functions.

Meet the Scientists
A woman wearing a white shirt with polka dots and hair in a low bun smiles outside.

Whitney Henry is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Founding Member Robert Weinberg’s lab and a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow. She is investigating ways to target a type of cancer cell that is particularly prone to metastasis and resisting treatment. 

A woman in a black and white plaid shirt stands smiling in front of lab equipment.

Anushka Dongre is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member Robert (Bob) Weinberg’s lab investigating how cancers spread and how the body’s own immune system can be used to fight them. 

Head and shoulders shot of Sonia Iyer

Sonia Iyer is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Founding Member Robert (Bob) Weinberg’s lab investigating ovarian cancer. 

Read about the Research
Illustration of a mitochondrion superimposed with the ResearchGlance logo

Whitehead Institute and Broad Institute researchers determine that cancer cells commonly change their energy source, creating a weakness that the drug elesclomol exploits to resensitize cancer cells to proteasome inhibitors.

Microscope imaage

By seeding mouse nervous systems with human cells, researchers have created a system to model human neuroblastoma tumors.