Tony Hunter, Ph.D.

Renato Dulbecco Chair in Cancer Research
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Tony Hunter received his B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, England, and completed postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of Cambridge. He joined the faculty of the Salk Institute in 1975, where he is currently Professor and Renato Dulbecco Chair in Cancer Research. In 1979, through his work on tumor viruses, he discovered a new class of protein kinases that phosphorylate tyrosine residues in proteins, establishing that dysregulated tyrosine phosphorylation by an activated tyrosine kinase can cause cancer. He and others went on to show that tyrosine phosphorylation is a widespread reversible protein modification essential for the regulation of a wide variety of cellular processes in multicellular eukaryotes, including transmembrane signal transduction by surface receptors. His work led to the realization that aberrant tyrosine phosphorylation is causal in several types of human cancer and in other diseases, and this has led to the successful development of small molecule inhibitors that target disease-causing tyrosine kinases, known as TKIs, such as Gleevec, a BCR-ABL inhibitor used for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia. As of January 2022, over 60 TKIs have been approved for clinical use world wide. Hunter has received many awards for his work on tyrosine phosphorylation, and has been elected to several academic societies, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London.

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