Justin Drake, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Justin Drake

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-624-7151

Lab Phone 612-626-9416

Office Address:
3-134 Nils Hasselmo Hall
321 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Lab Address:
3-258 Nils Hasselmo Hall
321 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Postdoctoral Fellowship, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

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

BS, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN, Biochemistry


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


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.


  • Brian BF 4th, Jolicoeur AS, Guerrero CR, Nunez MG, Sychev ZE, Hegre SA, Sætrom P, Habib N, Drake JM, Schwertfeger KL, Freedman TS. Unique-region phosphorylation targets LynA for rapid degradation, tuning its expression and signaling in myeloid cells. Elife. 2019 Jul 8. 
  • Kothari V, Goodwin JF, Zhao SG, Drake JM, Yin Y, Chang SL, Evans JR, Wilder-Romans K, Gabbara K, Dylgjeri E, Chou J, Sun G, Tomlins SA, Mehra R, Hege K, Filvaroff EH, Schaeffer EM, Karnes RJ, Quigley DA, Rathkopf DE, He HH, Speers C, Spratt DE, Gilbert LA, Ashworth A, Chinnaiyan AM, Raj GV, Knudsen KE, Feng FY. DNA-Dependent Protein Kinase Drives Prostate Cancer Progression through Transcriptional Regulation of the Wnt Signaling Pathway. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Sep 15. 
  • Nickols NG, Nazarian R, Zhao SG, Tan V, Uzunangelov V, Xia Z, Baertsch R, Neeman E, Gao AC, Thomas GV, Howard L, De Hoedt AM, Stuart J, Goldstein T, Chi K, Gleave ME, Graff JN, Beer TM, Drake JM, Evans CP, Aggarwal R, Foye A, Feng FY, Small EJ, Aronson WJ, Freedland SJ, Witte ON, Huang J, Alumkal JJ, Reiter RE, Rettig MB. MEK-ERK signaling is a therapeutic target in metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2019 Dec. 
  • Cheng LC, Li Z, Graeber TG, Graham NA, Drake JM. Phosphopeptide Enrichment Coupled with Label-free Quantitative Mass Spectrometry to Investigate the Phosphoproteome in Prostate Cancer. J Vis Exp. 2018 Aug 2.
  • de Leeuw R, McNair C, Schiewer MJ, Neupane NP, Brand LJ, Augello MA, Li Z, Cheng LC, Yoshida A, Courtney SM, Hazard ES, Hardiman G, Hussain MH, Diehl JA, Drake JM, Kelly WK, Knudsen KE. MAPK Reliance via Acquired CDK4/6 Inhibitor Resistance in Cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Sep 1. 
  • Kou X, Li B, Olayanju JB, Drake JM, Chen N. Nutraceutical or Pharmacological Potential of Moringa oleifera Lam. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 12.
  • Ramroop JR, Stein MN, Drake JM. Impact of Phosphoproteomics in the Era of Precision Medicine for Prostate Cancer. Front Oncol. 2018 Feb 16. 
  • Lue HW, Podolak J, Kolahi K, Cheng L, Rao S, Garg D, Xue CH, Rantala JK, Tyner JW, Thornburg KL, Martinez-Acevedo A, Liu JJ, Amling CL, Truillet C, Louie SM, Anderson KE, Evans MJ, O'Donnell VB, Nomura DK, Drake JM, Ritz A, Thomas GV. Metabolic reprogramming ensures cancer cell survival despite oncogenic signaling blockade. Genes Dev. 2017 Oct 15. 
  • Yue X, Zhang C, Zhao Y, Liu J, Lin AW, Tan VM, Drake JM, Liu L, Boateng MN, Li J, Feng Z, Hu W. Gain-of-function mutant p53 activates small GTPase Rac1 through SUMOylation to promote tumor progression. Genes Dev. 2017 Aug 15.
  • Cheng LC, Tan VM, Ganesan S, Drake JM. Integrating phosphoproteomics into the clinical management of prostate cancer. Clin Transl Med. 2017 Dec.