Skip to main content
Nick Tonks

Nicholas K Tonks, PhD

Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
VVP 2015: Monash University, Melbourne (host: Tony Tiganis)

Nick Tonks is one of the leading authorities on the protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) family of enzymes. He discovered PTP1B, which is now known to be a critical regulator of signaling, including the response to insulin and leptin, as well as functioning a positive regulator of HER2 signaling in breast cancer. He went on to show that PTP1B was the prototype for a large family of such enzymes in humans that included receptor-like proteins. His laboratory takes a multidisciplinary approach to study the structure, regulation and function of the protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) family of enzymes, to illustrate their fundamental importance to the control of signal transduction under normal and pathophysiological conditions. This is integrated with development of novel approaches to therapeutic intervention in PTP function.

Dr Tonks was educated at Oxford University and the University of Dundee where he earned his PhD in 1985 under the supervision of Philip Cohen.  He conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington with Edmond H  Fischer, and moved to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1990, where he was promoted to full Professor in 1995. He has published over 200 papers in the field and has been granted 12 patents.  His research has been recognized by several awards, including a MERIT Award from the NIH, the Colworth Medal (British Biochemical Society), and the ASBMB Earl and Thressa Stadtman Distinguished Scientist Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.

Tonks Lab