Gerta Hoxhaj received her bachelor’s degree from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, with a double major in molecular biology and genetics and chemistry. She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry and cell signaling from the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK, where she characterized a novel E3 ubiquitin ligase, ZNRF2, as a downstream effector of PI3K signaling. In 2013, Dr. Hoxhaj joined the laboratory of Dr. Brendan Manning at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she worked on understanding how oncogenic signaling influences cellular metabolism. Her work discovered new mechanisms that link PI3K-Akt-mTORC1 signaling with the control of nucleotide and redox metabolism.

In 2019, Dr. Hoxhaj joined the faculty of Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern and became a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Scholar. Dr. Hoxhaj holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry at UT Southwestern. Since joining CRI, she has become a V Foundation Scholar, an American Cancer Society Scholar, and a Pew Scholar.

The Hoxhaj laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular fundamentals of how cells rewire their metabolism to fuel the growth and survival of cancer cells. They harness the power of classical biochemistry, metabolomics, cell biology, and mouse models to decode altered metabolism in disease. Three fundamental questions guide their work: 

  1. How do cells integrate oncogenic signals to finely regulate their metabolic activities?
  2. How is metabolism linked to tissue function?
  3. How do cells sense metabolite abundance to maintain cellular homeostasis and function?

Findings from the Hoxhaj laboratory have the potential to reveal new therapeutic strategies for cancer and other metabolic disorders.


Bogazci University (2008), Molecular Biology
Graduate School
Univ of Dundee (2013), Biochemistry

Research Interest

  • Cancer Metabolism
  • Kinase signaling
  • Nutrient Signaling


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Crystal structure of human NADK2 reveals a dimeric organization and active site occlusion by lysine acetylation.
Mary C, Soflaee MH, Kesavan R, Gelin M, Brown H, Zacharias G, Mathews TP, Lemoff A, Lionne C, Labesse G, Hoxhaj G, Mol Cell 2022 Jul
Purine nucleotide depletion prompts cell migration by stimulating the serine synthesis pathway.
Soflaee MH, Kesavan R, Sahu U, Tasdogan A, Villa E, Djabari Z, Cai F, Tran DH, Vu HS, Ali ES, Rion H, O'Hara BP, Kelekar S, Hallett JH, Martin M, Mathews TP, Gao P, Asara JM, Manning BD, Ben-Sahra I, Hoxhaj G, Nat Commun 2022 May 13 1 2698
Mitochondrial NADP+ is essential for proline biosynthesis during cell growth.
Tran DH, Kesavan R, Rion H, Soflaee MH, Solmonson A, Bezwada D, Vu HS, Cai F, Phillips JA, DeBerardinis RJ, Hoxhaj G, Nat Metab 2021 04 3 4 571-585
The PI3K-AKT network at the interface of oncogenic signalling and cancer metabolism.
Hoxhaj G, Manning BD, Nat. Rev. Cancer 2019 Nov
Direct stimulation of NADP+ synthesis through Akt-mediated phosphorylation of NAD kinase.
Hoxhaj G, Ben-Sahra I, Lockwood SE, Timson RC, Byles V, Henning GT, Gao P, Selfors LM, Asara JM, Manning BD, Science 2019 03 363 6431 1088-1092
The mTORC1 Signaling Network Senses Changes in Cellular Purine Nucleotide Levels.
Hoxhaj G, Hughes-Hallett J, Timson RC, Ilagan E, Yuan M, Asara JM, Ben-Sahra I, Manning BD, Cell Rep 2017 Oct 21 5 1331-1346
The E3 ubiquitin ligase ZNRF2 is a substrate of mTORC1 and regulates its activation by amino acids.
Hoxhaj G, Caddye E, Najafov A, Houde VP, Johnson C, Dissanayake K, Toth R, Campbell DG, Prescott AR, MacKintosh C, Elife 2016 04 5
mTORC1 induces purine synthesis through control of the mitochondrial tetrahydrofolate cycle.
Ben-Sahra I, Hoxhaj G, Ricoult SJH, Asara JM, Manning BD, Science 2016 Feb 351 6274 728-733
ZNRF2 is released from membranes by growth factors and, together with ZNRF1, regulates the Na+/K+ATPase.
Hoxhaj G, Najafov A, Toth R, Campbell DG, Prescott AR, MacKintosh C, J. Cell. Sci. 2012 Oct 125 Pt 19 4662-75

Honors & Awards

  • Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Scholar