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Joel L. Pomerantz, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Joel L. Pomerantz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry

Research Interests: Functional specificity and design of signal transduction pathways


Dr. Joel L. Pomerantz is an associate professor of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on functional specificity and the design of signal transduction pathways.

Dr. Pomerantz received his B.A. in biochemistry from Brandeis University in 1989 and completed his Ph.D. in biology in Phillip A. Sharp's laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995. He then completed two postdoctoral fellowships in biology, the first one at MIT with Carl O. Pabo in 1997 and the second in David Baltimore's laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in 2003. He joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins in 2004.

His work examines the molecular machinery used by cells to interpret extracellular signals and transduce them to the nucleus to effect changes in gene expression, which results in a cell's decision to proliferate, differentiate, or die. The dysregulation of this machinery underlies the unwarranted expansion or destruction of cell numbers that occurs in human diseases like cancer, autoimmunity, hyperinflammatory states and neurodegenerative disease.

Dr. Pomerantz is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and serves on the editorial boards of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Journal of Biological Chemistry. He has authored or co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and one book chapter, has received numerous grants and awards and holds two patents. more


  • Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry
  • Associate Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions



  • B.A., Brandeis University (Massachusetts) (1989)
  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts) (1995)

Additional Training

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 2003, Biology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 1996, Biology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Pomerantz and members of his lab currently study signaling pathways that are important in innate immunity, adaptive immunity, and in cancer, paying particular attention to pathways that regulate the activity of the pleiotropic transcription factor NF-kappaB. One molecule that signals to NF-kappaB is CARD11 and the team is investigating the biochemical mechanisms by which CARD11 transduces signals from the T-cell receptor to NF-kappaB. Using a new expression cloning strategy designed to isolate molecules that signal to NF-kappaB in lymphocytes, the team has cloned several novel signaling molecules that activate the NF-kappaB or NFAT transcription factors and is currently working to better understand their mechanisms of action.

Dr. Pomerantz and his team are also interested in the design of artificial cellular signaling circuits, which would provide new tools for controlling gene expression to be used in biological research and to engineer cell fate decisions in novel therapeutic approaches.

Lab Website: Joel Pomerantz Laboratory

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Chan W, Schaffer TB, Pomerantz JL. "A quantitative signaling screen identifies CARD11 mutations in the CARD and LATCH domains that induce Bcl10 ubiquitination and human lymphoma cell survival." Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Jan;33(2):429-43. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00850-12. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

Szeto GL, Pomerantz JL, Graham DR, Clements JE. "Minocycline suppresses activation of nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (NFAT1) in human CD4+ T cells." J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 1;286(13):11275-82. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.210518. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

Lamason RL, Kupfer A, Pomerantz JL. "The dynamic distribution of CARD11 at the immunological synapse is regulated by the inhibitory kinesin GAKIN." Mol Cell. 2010 Dec 10;40(5):798-809. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2010.11.007.

Lamason RL, McCully RR, Lew SM, Pomerantz JL. "Oncogenic CARD11 mutations induce hyperactive signaling by disrupting autoinhibition by the PKC-responsive inhibitory domain." Biochemistry. 2010 Sep 28;49(38):8240-50. doi: 10.1021/bi101052d.

Lamason RL, Lew SM, Pomerantz JL. "Transcriptional target-based expression cloning of immunoregulatory molecules." Immunol Res. 2010 Jul;47(1-3):172-8. doi: 10.1007/s12026-009-8148-z. Review.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology

Graduate Program in Immunology

Biological Chemistry

Activities & Honors


  • Summa cum laude, Brandeis University, 1989
  • Julian J. and Helen R. Behr Scholarship Prize, Brandeis University, 1989
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Brandeis University, 1988
  • Nathan and Bertha Richter Award, Brandeis University, 1988
  • Elihu A. Silver Prize, Brandeis University, 1988
  • CRC Press Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award, Brandeis University, 1986
  • Justice Brandeis Scholar, Brandeis University, 1985 - 1989
  • Sterling Winthrop Research Fellow in Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School, 1992 - 1993
  • M.D.-Ph.D. Program, Harvard Medical School, 1989 - 1995
  • Kimmel Scholar, Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, 2005 - 2007
  • Scholar, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society , 2011 - 2016
  • Scholar, American Cancer Society Research , 2006 - 2011
  • Scholar, Rita Allen Foundation , 2006 - 2009
  • Special Fellow, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 2000 - 2003
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, 1997 - 2000


  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • American Society for Microbiology
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