Mark Lackner - Director and Principal Scientist, Oncology Biomarker Development

Mark Lackner

Director and Principal Scientist, Oncology Biomarker Development

"Genentech is an amazing place to work. You have the opportunity to work with great colleagues doing cutting edge science in the pursuit of developing transformative medicines."
Years at Genentech

I received my PhD from the Developmental Biology Department at Stanford University in 1997 for work done in Stuart Kim’s lab to clone the C. elegans MAP kinase gene and elucidate its role in RAS signaling in the context of vulval development. I then moved to Josh Kaplan’s lab at UC Berkeley as a post-doc and continued my interest in genetic analysis of signal transduction. This work identified a key role for the EGL-8 phospholipase C homolog in mediating serotonin signaling in C. elegans. I was increasingly interested in translating basic research findings around signal transduction pathways into a clinically relevant setting, so in 1999 I moved to Exelixis, an Oncology drug development company started by geneticists Cory Goodman, Gerry Rubin and Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonis. My role at Exelixis primarily involved identification and validation of new oncology targets. The most notable finding was a previously unknown role for Rab geranylgeranyl transferase as an apoptotic target of farnesyl transferase inhibitors, based on an RNAi screen in a p53 mutant strain of C. elegans (Lackner, et al, Cancer Cell. 2005 Apr;7(4):325-36).

In 2004, I moved to Genentech to join the newly formed Oncology Biomarker group, a translational science unit with a remit to identify predictive biomarkers that may be used to identify patients most likely to respond to targeted therapies. As a Senior Scientist at Genentech, my career returned full circle to some of my earliest interests in signal transduction and Developmental Biology as the Biomarker team lead for therapeutic programs targeting MEK and PI3K, and allowed me to contribute to the development of these therapeutic agents in molecularly defined patient populations. In 2012, I was promoted to a position heading the Early Stage Biomarker Development Department at Genentech. In this role, I lead a group of over 40 scientists and research associates and am accountable for the overall personalized medicine strategy for all Genentech Oncology projects in phase I and II clinical development.

Featured Publication

Heterogeneity and clinical significance of ESR1 mutations in ER-positive metastatic breast cancer patients receiving fulvestrant.

Nat Commun. 2016 May 13;7:11579.

Spoerke JM, Gendreau S, Walter K, Qiu J, Wilson TR, Savage H, Aimi J, Derynck MK, Chen M, Chan IT, Amler LC, Hampton GM, Johnston S, Krop I, Schmid P, Lackner MR.