Ana Patricia Gomes, Ph.D.



Favorite movie: Begin Again

Hometown: Estremoz, Portugal

Non-science activity: Going to concerts

Dream bench mate:  Eddie Vedder

One item from bucket list: Start my own biotech company

Scientific interest: Understand the metabolic and epigenetic requirements of cellular plasticity associated with the aging process









I did my PhD with Dr. David Sinclair at Harvard Medical School, focusing on the molecular mechanisms of aging. I found that during aging, and before accumulation of genetic damage, specific metabolic pathways are deregulated leading to genetic instability. The most remarkable aspect of this discovery was the reversible nature of it, allowing for the possibility of a longer healthier life. During my PhD, I have developed a passion for deciphering the mechanistic underpinnings of cellular dysfunction that contributes to disease and driving this knowledge toward a meaningful clinical benefit.

In the Blenis lab I have been focused on exploring age-driven reversible changes that promote tumor progression. I have taken unbiased approaches identifying metabolic factors that are specifically altered in the plasma of the elderly and shown that such factors are potent promoters of tumor progression. I have also taken a more hypothesis-driven approach and discovered an epigenetic mechanism relying on histone H3 variants that also promotes tumor progression and metastases.  By identifying the age-associated reversible factors that predispose to cancer and lead to tumor progression, the ultimate goal of my work is to discover new and improved therapeutic targets for the treatment of highly advanced cancers.

Honors and Awards

2017 Winner of the Bench to Bedside Initiative Tri-Institute Shark Thank

2017 2017 STAT Wunderkind

2017 K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from NCI (K99CA218686-01)

2017 Susan G. Komen Postdoctoral Fellowship

2017 Finalist of the Regeneron Prize for Creative for Creative Innovation (one out of 5 finalists)

2009-2012 PhD Fellowship awarded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology

Selected Publications

Schild T, Low V, Blenis J, Gomes AP, 2018, Unique metabolic adaptations dictate distal organ-specific metastatic colonization. Cancer Cell 33(3):347-354.

Gomes AP, Schild T, Blenis J, 2017. Adding Polyamine Metabolism to the mTORC1 toolkit in Cell Growth and Cancer. Development Cell 42(2):112-114.

Gomes AP, Blenis J, 2015, A nexus for cellular homeostasis: the interplay between metabolic and signal transduction pathways. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 34:110-117.

Mullarky E, Lucki NC, Beheshti Zavareh R, Anglin JL, Gomes AP, Nicolay BN, Wong JC, Christen S, Takahashi H, Singh PK, Blenis J, Warren JD, Fendt SM, Asara JM, DeNicola GM, Lyssiotis CA, Lairson LL, Cantley LC, 2016, Identification of a small molecule inibitior of 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase to target serine biosynthesis in cancers. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 113(11):E1585.

Gomes AP, Sinclair DA, 2015, Measuring PGC-1α and its acetylation status in mouse primary myotubes. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1241:49-57.

Wu LE, Gomes AP, Sinclair DA, 2014, Geroncogenesis: Metabolic changes during aging as driver of tumorigenesis. Cancer Cell. 25(1): 12-9. 

Gomes AP, Price NL, Ling AJY, Moslehi JJ, Montgomery MK, Rajman LA, White JP, Teodoro JS, Wrann CD, Hubbard BP, Mercken EM, Palmeira CM, de Cabo R, Rolo AP, Turner N, Bell EL, Sinclair DA, 2013, Declining NAD+ Induces a Pseudohypoxic State Disrupting Nuclear-Mitochondrial Communication during Aging. Cell. 155(7): 1624–1638.

Hubbard BP, Gomes AP, Dai H, Li J, Case AW, Considine T, Riera TV, Lee JE, E SY, Lamming DW, Pentelute BL, Schuman ER, Stevens LR, Ling AJY, Armour SM, Michan S, Zhao H, Jiang Y, Sweitzer SM, Blum CA, Disch JS, Ng PY, Howitz KT, Rolo AP, Hamuro Y, Moss J, Perni RB, Ellis JL, Vlasuk GP, Sinclair DA, 2013, Evidence for a common mechanism of SIRT1 regulation by allosteric activators. Science. 339(6124): 1216-19.

Price NL*, Gomes AP*, Ling AJY, Martin-Montalvo A, North BJ, Hubbard BP, Agarwal B, Davis JG,Varamini B, Hafner A, Moaddel R, Rolo AP, Palmeira CP, Cabo R, Baur JA, Sinclair DA, 2012, SIRT1 is required for AMPK activation and the beneficial effects of resveratrol on mitochondrial function. Cell Metabolism. 15(5):675-90. *Both authors contributed equally for this work.

Gomes AP, Duarte FV, Nunes P, Hubbard BP, Teodoro JS, Varela AT, Jones JG, Sinclair DA, Palmeira CM, Rolo AP, 2012. Berberine protects against high fat diet-induced dysfunction in muscle mitochondria by inducing SIRT1-dependent mitochondrial biogenesis. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease. 1822: 185-195.