Dr. Hanker received her B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Virginia in 2004 and Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. Her graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Channing Der focused on strategies to disrupt membrane binding of the small GTPase Rheb, in an effort to block aberrant Rheb/mTOR signaling in cancer. Dr. Hanker pursued postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Carlos Arteaga at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. During this time, she was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program and a career development award (K12 award) from the National Cancer Institute. Her postdoctoral studies used transgenic mouse models and human breast cancer xenografts to study mechanisms of resistance to HER2-targeted therapy in HER2+ breast cancer. More recently, Dr. Hanker identified the HER2 T798I gatekeeper mutation as a mechanism of resistance to HER2-targeted therapy in HER2-mutant breast cancer.

Dr. Hanker's current work is focused on 1) therapeutic targeting of breast cancer-associated alterations, and 2) delineating mechanisms of resistance to breast cancer targeted therapies, including HER2 inhibitors, antiestrogens, PI3K/AKT inhibitors, and CDK4/6 inhibitors.

Dr. Hanker joined the faculty of UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2018. Her research program is supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.


University of Virginia - Sfs (2004), Chemistry
Graduate School
University of N C-Chapel Hill (2009)

Research Interest

  • breast cancer targeted therapy
  • cancer biology
  • cancer genomics
  • drug resistance
  • PI3K pathway
  • precision oncology
  • receptor tyrosine kinases
  • signal transduction


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

AXL/WRNIP1 mediates replication stress response and promotes therapy resistance and metachronous metastasis in HER2+ breast cancer.
Marquez-Palencia M, Reza Herrera L, Parida PK, Ghosh S, Kim K, Das NM, Gonzalez-Ericsson PI, Sanders ME, Mobley BC, Diegeler S, Aguilera TA, Peng Y, Lewis CM, Arteaga CL, Hanker AB, Whitehurst AW, Lorens JB, Brekken RA, Davis AJ, Malladi S, Cancer Res 2024 Jan
ZNF397 Loss Triggers TET2-driven Epigenetic Rewiring, Lineage Plasticity, and AR-targeted Therapy Resistance in AR-dependent Cancers.
Xu Y, Wang Z, Sjöström M, Deng S, Wang C, Johnson NA, Gonzalez J, Li X, Metang LA, Tirado CR, Mukherji A, Wainwright G, Yu X, Yang Y, Barnes S, Hofstad M, Zhu H, Hanker A, He HH, Chen Y, Wang Z, Raj G, Arteaga C, Feng F, Wang Y, Wang T, Mu P, bioRxiv 2023 Oct


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

The Roles of Ras Family Small GTPases in Breast Cancer. In Handbook of Cell Signaling 2ed

Hanker AB, Der CJ (2009). Cambridge, MA, Academic Press

Role of R-Ras in Cell Growth. In Handbook of Cell Signaling 2ed

Repasky GA, Cox AD, Hanker AB, Mitin N, Der CJ (2009). Cambridge, MA, Academic Press

Honors & Awards

  • AACR NextGen Star
  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation Award - Abemaciclib Research Program
  • NIH/NCI SPORE in Breast Cancer Career Enhancement Award
  • AACR-Susan G. Komen Scholar-in-Training Award, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
  • Vanderbilt Clinical Oncology Research Career Development Award (K12)
  • AACR-Aflac, Inc. Scholar-in-Training Award
  • Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
  • Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Predoctoral Traineeship Award
  • Highest Distinction, University of Virginia Distinguished Majors Project

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for Cancer Research (2009)
  • Cancer Biology graduate program (2022)
  • Cell and Molecular Biology graduate program (2022)
  • Experimental Therapeutics Program, Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center (2019)
  • Ipatasertib Project Team, National Cancer Institute Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (NCI CTEP) (2020-2020)