Justin Drake, PhD

Justin Drake

3-134 Nils Hasselmo Hall
321 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Dr. Drake is a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator and a Masonic Scholar. He received his B.S. degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato in Biochemistry and Ph.D. degree from the University of Iowa in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics in the laboratory of Dr. Michael D. Henry. His postdoctoral training was in the lab of Dr. Owen N. Witte at UCLA. Prior to coming to the University of Minnesota in 2018, Dr. Drake held a faculty position at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in the Department of Medicine.



Prostate cancer, biomarkers, proteomics, kinase signaling


Awards & Recognition

Society of Basic Urologic Research (SBUR) Young Investigator Award, 2017

Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Young Investigator Award, 2015

UCLA MBI Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence, 2014

PCF-AACR Scholar-in-Training Award, Supported by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 2014

AACR Scholar-in-Training Award, Supported by AACR-Axel Ullrich, 2012

NIH NRSA Tumor Cell Biology Postdoctoral Institutional Training Grant, 2009-2011

Dr. Byron A. Schottelius Teaching Award, University of Iowa, 2008

American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship, Midwest Affiliate, 2006-2007

Department of Pharmacology Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Iowa, 2004-2005


Professional Associations

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR)

US Human Proteome Organization (US HUPO)

Department of Defense (DoD) PCRP Grant Review Panel, 2018


Postdoctoral Fellowship, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

PhD, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

BS, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN, Biochemistry

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Research Summary/Interests

Research in the Drake Lab focuses on blending basic and translational research approaches to better understand the signaling networks in lethal metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer, and how to more effectively treat patients who are suffering from this disease using rationalized targeted therapies. Previous research from Dr. Drake and others suggest that kinase activation may be a primary mechanism of resistance to current therapies in late stage prostate cancer. Using in vivo primary mouse and human cancer model systems, the Drake Lab investigates what particular kinase signaling pathways are activated that lead to this resistance and how new targeted therapies, such as kinase inhibitors, may perturb these pathways for future clinical utility.

In addition, Dr. Drake’s lab will also employ phosphoproteomics enrichment technologies coupled to quantitative targeted mass spectrometry to identify the activated kinases and pathways in pre-clinical and clinical tumors for development of predictive biomarkers. The results of this research aim to evaluate single liquid or tissue biopsies from metastatic prostate cancer patients for activated kinase signatures that will lead to targeted therapies in real time.