Diane Fingar

Professor, Cell & Developmental Biology
Director, Graduate Studies, Cell & Development Biology
Research Focus: Cell signaling; growth factors; nutrients; protein kinases; mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR); mTORC1; mTORC2; cell growth; cell proliferation; cell survival

3039 BSRB 
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200


Areas of Interest

Research in the Fingar lab focuses on how cells sense diverse types of environmental cues to mount appropriate cellular responses critical for normal organismal physiology. We focus on an evolutionary conserved cell signaling pathway centered on the protein kinase mTOR (the mechanistic target of rapamycin), which controls critical cellular process related to metabolism, tumorigenesis, and immune function in response to growth factors, hormones, cytokines, and nutrients. mTOR constitutes the catalytic core of at least two functionally distinct signaling complexes, mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2), with differing sensitivities to the mTOR inhibitor and immunosuppressive drug rapamycin. mTORC1 drives cellular biosynthetic processes such as protein, lipid, and nucleotide synthesis, which in turn drive cell growth (increase in cell mass/size) and cell proliferation. mTORC2 modulates cell metabolism and enhances cell survival. Not surprisingly, disregulated mTOR complex function contributes to diverse diseases including diabetes, cancer, and inflammatory disorders. Despite the clear physiologic importance of mTOR, fundamental gaps exist in our knowledge regarding cellular mTOR regulation and function. Improved understanding of the cellular mTOR signaling network may enable the future development of targeted therapeutic agents to treat human diseases linked to aberrant mTOR function.

Associated Grad Programs

Cell & Developmental Biology, Cellular & Molecular Biology


  • Harvard Medical School, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1998-2002 
  • Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1995-1998
  • Harvard Medical School, Ph.D., 06/1996
  • Princeton University, A.B., 06/1989 

Published Articles or Reviews