Robert D. Schreiber is the Alumni Endowed Professor of Pathology and Immunology and Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He is also co-leader of the Tumor Immunology Program of Washington University's Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center, Director of the newly formed Washington University Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs and an Associate Director of the Scientific Advisory Board to the Cancer Research Institute. He is a co-founder of Igenica, Inc., a biotech company focused on monoclonal antibody cancer therapeutics and a senior advisor to Jounce Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on development of novel immunomodulatory cancer therapies.
Schreiber's career has focused on elucidating the biochemistry and molecular cell biology of cytokines and defining the role they play in promoting immune responses to cancer. He was the first to demonstrate that interferon-gamma (IFNg) was the cytokine that activated mouse macrophage anti-tumor and anti-microbial activities and pioneered the in vivo use of monoclonal antibodies to define the physiologic roles of cytokines in promoting host responses to tumors and infectious agents. He subsequently was one of the first to elucidate the structure and function of the IFNg receptor and then established the physiologic relevance of IFNg receptor-dependent signaling by generating genetically engineered mice lacking specific components of this pathway. Using IFNg-unresponsive- and immunodeficient gene-targeted mice, Schreiber and colleagues demonstrated that the unmanipulated immune system could eliminate spontaneous and carcinogen-induced primary tumors and thereby resolved the long-standing controversy over whether cancer immunosurveillance occurs. He also demonstrated that immunity can promote tumor dormancy and ultimately facilitate cancer progression by shaping tumor immunogenicity. These observations led Schreiber and his collaborators to propose the cancer immunoediting hypothesis that has gained nearly universal acceptance in the last few years. Schreiber's work has thus led to a generalized appreciation of the profound effect of immunity on developing tumors and has contributed critical conceptual and practical support to the fields of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy. Recently, Schreiber pioneered the use of genomics approaches to define the antigenic targets of cancer immunoediting and elucidate the mechanisms that underlie the process. This latter work supports ongoing efforts to develop individualized cancer immunotherapies.
Robert Schreiber has authored more than 300 peer reviewed and invited publications and has received many honors including the Milstein Award from the International Society for interferon and cytokine Research, The Marie T Bonazinga Award for Excellence in Leukocyte Biology Research, the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology from the Cancer Research Institute, and the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research. Schreiber was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010 and the National Academy of Sciences (USA) in 2013.