Joseph Longo, Ph.D.

Joseph Longo, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow, Russell Jones Laboratory


Dr. Joseph Longo received his B.Sc. from the Honours Molecular Biology and Genetics Program at McMaster University (Hamilton, ON, Canada), after which he completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto (Toronto, ON, Canada). Dr. Longo’s Ph.D. research focused on the role of the mevalonate pathway in cancer, and how drugs that target this metabolic pathway, such as statins, can be repurposed to treat specific cancers. To that end, he has extensive experience with evaluating experimental therapeutics in vitro and in vivo using a range of cancer models, including cell lines, patient-derived xenografts and primary clinical specimens. In 2020, he joined the lab of Dr. Russell Jones as a postdoctoral fellow to continue his research on cancer metabolism.


Current research focus

Dr. Longo’s current research focuses on characterizing the nutritional requirements of T cells, with the ultimate goal of identifying metabolic pathways that can be therapeutically manipulated to impact T cell fate and function. He is also working to better understand how local and systemic nutrient availability impact immune responses and tumor growth in vivo.

Education & Training

Ph.D., University of Toronto (Adviser: Dr. Linda Z. Penn)
Thesis: Determinants of statin drug sensitivity in mevalonate-dependent cancers

B.Sc. (hons) in molecular biology and genetics, McMaster University

Awards & External Funding

(2017–2020) Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral Research Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

(2016–2017) Ontario Graduate Scholarship

(2015–2016) Dr. J.R. Cunningham Graduate Fellowship in Cancer Research

(2015–2016) Ontario Graduate Scholarship

(2014–2015) Canada Graduate Scholarship – Masters Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research


To view a list of selected publications click below.

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Longo J, van Leeuwen JE, Elbaz M, Branchard E, Penn LZ. 2020. Statins as anti-cancer agents in the era of precision medicine. Clin Cancer Res.

Longo J, Pandyra AA, Stachura P, Minden MD, Schimmer AD, Penn LZ. 2020. Cyclic AMP-hydrolyzing phosphodiesterase inhibitors potentiate statin-induced cancer cell death. Mol Oncol.

Longo J, Smirnov P, Li Z, Branchard E, van Leeuwen JE, Licht JD, Haibe-Kains B, Andrews DW, Keats JJ, Pugh TJ, Trudel S, Penn LZ. 2020. The mevalonate pathway is an actionable vulnerability of t(4;14)-positive multiple myeloma. Leukemia.

Longo J, Hamilton RJ, Masoomian M, Khurram N, Branchard E, Mullen PJ, Elbaz M, Hersey K, Chadwick D, Ghai S, Andrews DW, Chen EX, van der Kwast TH, Fleshner NE, Penn LZ. 2020. A pilot window-of-opportunity study of preoperative fluvastatin in localized prostate cancer. Prostate Can Prost Dis.

Lourenco C, Kalkat M, Houlahan KE, De Melo J, Longo J, Done SJ, Boutros PC, Penn LZ. 2019. Modelling the MYC-driven normal-to-tumour switch in breast cancer. Dis Models Mech 12: dmm038083.

Longo J, Mullen PJ, Yu R, van Leeuwen JE, Masoomian M, Woon DTS, Wang Y, Chen EX, Hamilton RJ, Sweet JM, van der Kwast TH, Fleshner NE, Penn LZ. 2019. An actionable sterol-regulated feedback loop modulates statin sensitivity in prostate cancer. Mol Metabol 25:119–130.

Yu R, Longo J, van Leeuwen JE, Mullen PJ, Ba-Alawi W, Haibe-Kains B, Penn LZ. 2018. Statin-induced cancer cell death can be mechanistically uncoupled from prenylation of RAS family proteins. Cancer Res 78:1347–1357.

Mullen PJ, Yu R, Longo J, Archer MC, Penn LZ. 2016. The interplay between cell signalling and the mevalonate pathway in cancer. Nat Rev Can 16:718–731.