The Jacks Lab is interested in the genetic events contributing to the development of cancer. The focus of our research has been a series of mouse strains engineered to carry mutations in genes known to be involved in human cancer. We also study the effects of these mutations on normal embryonic development and use cells derived from mutant animals to study the function of these genes in cell culture models. Current research remains centered on the use of gene targeting to create more powerful and accurate mouse models of human cancer and to explore the pathways regulated by cancer-associated genes. We have generated mouse models of several major human cancer types, including lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, astrocytoma, retinoblastoma, peripheral nervous system tumors, soft tissue sarcoma, and invasive colon cancer. The mouse models are being evaluated with cutting-edge tools in genetics, genomics, and imaging, as well as with various chemotherapeutic agents.

Engineering hypermutant cancer models

We are interested in developing a novel mouse model of cancer in the lung and colon that have a high mutational burden. more >>

Modeling Cancer using CRISPR/Cas9 system 

The prokaryotic type II CRISPR/Cas9 system has revolutionized the field of genome engineering, allowing researchers to edit the genomes of a great variety of organisms with unprecedented speed and precision. more >>

Non-coding RNAs in tumorigenesis

Epigenetic changes during lung cancer progression

We are investigating epigenetic changes that occur during lung cancer development. more >>

Anti-oxidant response in lung tumorigenesis

We are dissecting the roles of the anti-oxidant pathway in our mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma cancer. more >>

Ras biology in pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and a major unsolved health problem worldwide with nearly all patients succumbing to their disease. more >>

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Small cell lung cancer

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a high-grade neuroendocrine cancer that is among the most lethal solid tumor malignancies, with a 5-year overall survival of less than 5%. more >>

Tumor Evolution

Tumor evolution and homeostasis

We have had a long-standing interest in tumor initiation and progression, and are interested in discovering what factors influence these events. more >>

Tumor Microenvironment

Tumor microenvironment

For many years, a prevailing paradigm in cancer biology was that mutational aberrations in neoplastic cells are both necessary and sufficient for tumorigenesis, and thus cancer was believed to be a cell-autonomous process. more >>

Tumor Immunology

Tumor immunology

Cancer immunology has tremendous therapeutic promise, as the immune system has the potential to find and completely eliminate tumor cells throughout the body and provide long lasting immunity from cancer. more >>


Funding Credit

Our studies are also supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research, the Lustgarten Foundation, SU2C/AACR and Johnson & Johnson.  Prof. Jacks is a Daniel K. Ludwig Scholar and the David H. Koch Professor of Biology at MIT.