Justin Drake

Assistant Professor
Phillip Semmer Fellow
Assistant Professor (Joint Appointment), Department of Urology
Faculty, MS and PhD Programs in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (MPaT)
Faculty, PhD Program in Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology (MICaB)
Faculty, MSTP Program


Dr. Drake is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Urology, 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. Dr. Drake is also Chief Science Officer at Astrin Biosciences focusing on liquid biopsy-derived detection of circulating tumor cells for early detection and precision therapies.


Undergrad: Minnesota State University, Mankato
Grad School: University of Iowa

Awards and Recognitions

  • Semmer Fellowship in Prostate Cancer
  • Young Investigator Award Spotlight Department of Defense 
  • Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR) Young Investigator Award
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Young Investigator Award
  • Department of Defense Scientific Highlight Selection 
  • UCLA MBI Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence
  • PCF-AACR Scholar-in-Training Award 
  • AACR Scholar-in-Training Award

Research Summary 

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.


  • VanDeusen HR, Ramroop JR, Morel KL, Bae SY, Sheahan AV, Sychev Z, Lau NA, Cheng LC, Tan VM, Li Z, Petersen A, Lee JK, Park JW, Yang R, Hwang JH, Coleman I, Witte ON, Morrissey C, Corey E, Nelson PS, Ellis L, Drake JM. Targeting RET Kinase in Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer. Mol Cancer Res. 2020 Aug;18(8):1176-1188. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-19-1245. Epub 2020 May 27. PubMed PMID: 32461304; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7415621.
  • Drake JM, Paull EO, Graham NA, Lee JK, Smith BA, Titz B, Stoyanova T, Faltermeier CM, Uzunangelov V, Carlin DE, Fleming DT, Wong CK, Newton Y, Sudha S, Vashisht AA, Huang J, Wohlschlegel JA, Graeber TG, Witte ON, Stuart JM. Phosphoproteome Integration Reveals Patient-Specific Networks in Prostate Cancer. Cell. 2016 Aug 11;166(4):1041-1054. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.07.007. Epub 2016 Aug 4. PubMed PMID: 27499020; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4985183.
  • White RE 3rd, Bannister M, Day A, Bergom HE, Tan VM, Hwang J, Dang Nguyen H, Drake JM. Saracatinib synergizes with enzalutamide to downregulate AR activity in CRPC. Front Oncol. 2023;13:1210487. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2023.1210487. eCollection 2023. PubMed PMID: 37456235; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10348659.
  • For more, see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1-3MethxfChkb/bibliography/public/



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312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0215