Dr. Elizabeth (Lisa) Henske is the Director of the Center for LAM Research and Clinical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is best known for her groundbreaking discovery that mutations in the tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2) gene cause the sporadic form of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). This provided the foundation for pivotal clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors for the treatment of LAM. Her laboratory discovered that autophagy plays a critical role in the pathogenesis and therapy of TSC and LAM, leading to a clinical trial led by Dr. Henske called the “SAIL” trial: Sirolimus and Autophagy Inhibition in LAM. Dr. Henske also was the first to discover the physical interaction between the TSC1 and TSC2 proteins, and the first to demonstrate that “second hit” genetic inactivation of the remaining wild-type copy of TSC1 or TSC2 occur in TSC-associated tumors, including renal angiomyolipomas and LAM.
In addition to TSC and LAM, Dr. Henske studies two other rare diseases: Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome (BHD) and chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (ChRCC). ChRCC can occur sporadically or in individuals with BHD and TSC. She developed the first yeast model of BHD and the first genetic mouse model of renal tumors in BHD. Her group, in collaboration with Carmen Priolo, performed the first metabolic studies of ChRCC, revealing striking defects in glutathione metabolism.
In addition to her position at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Henske is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an Associate Member of The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a practicing medical oncologist at the Lank Center for Genitourinary Cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She sees patients with LAM and BHD at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Henske earned her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Yale University, where she majored in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her MD degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed her Residency in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, followed by training in cancer genetics at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 1996 she joined Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia PA, where she rose to the rank of Senior Member before returning to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2008.
Dr. Henske is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and President of the Interurban Clinical Club. She is past member of the Board of Directors of the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance and a current member of the Board of Directors of The LAM Foundation. She is active in the mentoring and teaching of Harvard Medical School students through the Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Program, and in the teaching of graduate students at Harvard Medical School. She is past Director of the Brigham Research Institute and past President of the Harvard Medical Alumni Association.
Dr. Henske is a flutist who performs with local chamber music groups and orchestras and serves on the Board of Directors of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. She an avid runner who has completed six marathons.