Fox Chase Cancer Center’s inaugural endowed chair, established in 1993 by the Fox Chase Board of Directors, honors Stanley P. Reimann, MD, the founder of the Institute for Cancer Research, whose commitment to discovery and collaborative science continues to define the robust research enterprise at Fox Chase. This chair was established to recognize and support an outstanding leader in the field of cancer research who represents the highest standards of excellence.
Jonathan Chernoff, MD, PhD
Senior Vice President
Chief Scientific Officer
As Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Jonathan Chernoff coordinates and charts the future course of research at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Jonathan Chernoff was an undergraduate at Yale University when he first encountered protein kinases and phosphatases — enzymes that regulate almost all biologic signaling processes. During a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, Dr. Chernoff cloned the first protein tyrosine phosphatase, known as PTP1B. This enzyme plays a major role in insulin and leptin signaling, and has become a major focus of drug company research, as inhibitors of PTP1B are expected to be of benefit for adults who suffer from diabetes and/or obesity.
Since his arrival at Fox Chase, Dr. Chernoff has continued to work on this enzyme, recently showing that it is regulated by a new and unexpected mechanism known as sumoylation. This discovery adds an additional dimension to our understanding about how this important enzyme is controlled, and points the way toward new strategies for its inhibition by drugs.
Dr. Chernoff has also made important discoveries related to protein kinases. His group was the first to identify the Mst kinases and demonstrate their role in cell survival. These enzymes are now known to represent a new class of tumor suppressors, and have become one of the hottest topics in signal transduction. Dr. Chernoff is also one of the world’s leading authorities on p21-activated kinases, commonly termed Paks, which play a key role in controlling cell shape, movement, and invasion. As these processes are important in cancer cell metastasis, Paks are thought to represent useful new therapeutic targets in a variety of human cancers.
In addition, Dr. Chernoff has played a leading role in developing local and international academic affiliations, acting as liaison to Drexel University in Philadelphia and the Ben Gurion University in Israel.