Robert N. Eisenman, PhD

Robert N. Eisenman, PhD
​Member, Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington

Robert N. Eisenman, PhD | Class of 2015

A quintessential scientist, Dr. Eisenman has conducted research on the Myc family of transcription factors that has elucidated many intracellular regulatory networks commonly disrupted in breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer, Burkitt’s lymphoma, and neuroblastoma. He is regarded as one of the premier experts on how Myc proteins contribute to cancer cell proliferation, development, differentiation, metabolism, and growth.

Dr. Eisenman discovered that transcription factors such as Myc possess the ability to promote carcinogenesis through their targeted activation of gene expression, mediated through interactions with dimerization partner proteins. He discovered that Myc binds to Max (myc-associated factor X) and that this heterodimer binds to DNA at E-box sequences (CACGTG) to regulate gene expression. He demonstrated the competitive inhibition of Myc-Max function when he discovered that Max also interacts with Mad (Mxd) family members and that this interaction involves the recruitment of histone deacetylases and the co-repressor mSin3 to elicit transcriptional repression.

He has also exposed new roles of N-Myc and c-Myc in embryonic development and has further identified Myc-dependent pathways in chromatin remodeling. His ongoing research involves the use of transgenic mouse and Drosophila melanogaster models to elucidate how Myc cooperates with its extended network of interacting factors to control cell metabolism and contribute to Myc-mediated oncogenesis.

Career Highlights

​2014  The Dulbecco Lecture, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
2011  Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
2007  Scientific Advisory Committee, Center for Integrative Genomics, Lausanne, Switzerland
2004  Honorary Doctorate, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
2003  Merit Award, National Institutes of Health
2003  Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2002  Kirk A. Landon-AACR Prize for Basic Cancer Research
2001  The Harvey Lecture, Rockefeller University
1998  Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
1999-2007  Board of Scientific Advisors, Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research
1999-2005  Scientific Advisory Board, Lineberger Cancer Center, University of North Carolina
1998-2006  Scientific Advisory Board,  Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, Lausanne, Switzerland
1996-2000  Board of Scientific Counselors, Division of Basic Sciences, National Cancer Institute
1979-1984  Scholar, Leukemia Society of America
1971  PhD, Biophysics, University of Chicago