Peter Tsvetkov, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Group Leader
Peter Tsvetkov is a research scientist and group leader working with Todd Golub in the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. His research focuses on revealing new mechanisms of metal cytotoxicity, their dynamic interplay with cellular metabolic networks in normal and disease states, and how these may be leveraged to develop new therapeutic modalities. This research arose from findings he made in his postdoctoral training, where he discovered that structurally distinct copper ionophores preferentially target two different cancer drug-resistant models, leading him on the path of exploration of how copper kills cells. This resulted in the discovery that copper promotes a new form of regulated cell death, which is distinct from other known death mechanisms and hence termed cuproptosis. He was able to mechanistically characterize and show that cuproptosis is regulated by the mitochondrial FDX1 and lipoylated TCA cycle enzymes. Leveraging these findings, Tsvetkov is currently leading a translational project focused on the pre-clinical assessment of copper ionophores as a cancer therapeutic alongside his basic science research.
Tsvetkov joined the Broad Institute in 2018 after the premature death of his postdoctoral mentor, Susan Lindquist. During his postdoctoral studies, he revealed both genetic and metabolic mechanisms of cancer cell resistance to proteasome inhibitors and established the unique vulnerability of these drug-resistant states to copper ionophores. He earned his Ph.D in biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science where he worked on establishing the regulatory mechanisms of ubiquitin-independent degradation by the 20S proteasome. He holds a B.Sc. in physics and biology from Tel Aviv University.