Robert Weinberg (MIT)
MolBio Seminar Series
Dr. Robert A. Weinberg is a Founding Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the American Cancer Society and Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Dr. Weinberg and his colleagues used transfection to identify the first human cancer-causing gene, the ras oncogene, and the first known tumor suppressor gene, RB, the retinoblastoma gene. Subsequently, his group isolated the hTERT gene encoding the telomerease enzyme and used this gene, together with others, to create the first genetically defined human cancer cells. Their discovery that a series of transcription factors (Twist, Goosecoid, FOXC2) can program multiple steps of the invasion-metastasis cascade holds the promise of revealing how cancer cells within primary tumors are able to disseminate in the bodies of cancer patients, generating the metastases that are responsible for 90% of cancer-associated mortality.
Dr. Weinberg is the author or editor of five books and more than 350 articles. Among these are three books, intended for a lay audience: “One Renegade Cell”, "Racing to the Beginning of the Road: The Search for the Origin of Cancer" and "Genes and the Biology of Cancer," co-authored with Dr. Harold E. Varmus. More recently, he has written a textbook, “The Biology of Cancer”. He is an elected Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Member of the American Philosophical Society and the Institute of Medicine.
Among Dr. Weinberg's many honors and awards are the Discover Magazine 1982 Scientist of the Year, the National Academy of Sciences/U.S. Steel Foundation Award in Molecular Biology, the Sloan Prize of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, the Bristol-Myers Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research, the Harvey Prize from the American Society for Technion/Israel Institute of Technology, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Keio Medical Foundation Prize, the 1997 National Medal of Science, the 2004 Wolf Foundation Prize, and the Prince of Asturias Science Prize. He has served on scientific advisory boards for the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria, the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1942, Dr. Weinberg received his B.S. (1964) and Ph.D. (1969) degrees in Biology from MIT. He undertook postdoctoral research at the Weizmann Institute and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and then returned to MIT in 1972. In 1982, he was appointed Professor of Biology at MIT and that year became one of the Founding Members of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, also in Cambridge, MA. In 2006 he was appointed as Director of MIT’s Ludwig Center for Cancer Research.
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