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Robert A. Weinberg, PhD

Robert A. Weinberg, PhD

Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Class of 2013

In 1979, Dr. Weinberg and his colleagues demonstrated that the genomes of chemically transformed cells carry information that forces normal cells to become converted into cancer cells. This led to the isolation of the first human cancer-causing gene, the ras oncogene, and to the elucidation of the mutation that converted a normal human gene, a proto-oncogene, to become converted into an active oncogene. In the years that followed, his group demonstrated that multiple oncogenes are required to act in concert to effect the transformation of normal cells into tumor cells.

Dr. Weinberg’s group later participated in the isolation by molecular cloning of the first known tumor suppressor gene, Rb, the retinoblastoma gene. These findings led in 1999 to their creation of the first genetically defined human cancer cell. His subsequent research in the new millennium led to the demonstration that cell biology programs that play critical roles in normal embryological development are exploited by carcinoma cells in order to acquire the traits of invasion and metastatic dissemination. He has published five books, among them two editions of a textbook, The Biology of Cancer, that is used widely to describe the findings of modern cancer research over the past four decades.

Career Highlights

2021 Japan Prize, The Japan Prize Foundation
2013 Inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
2012 Pezcoller-AACR International Award for Cancer Research
2007 Otto Warburg Medal
2006 Landon-AACR Prize for Basic Cancer Research
2004 Wolf Prize in Medicine
2000 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
1997 Keio Medical Science Prize
1997 National Medal of Science, National Science Foundation
1996 AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award
1992 Elected Foreign Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
1992 Gairdner Foundation International Award
1989 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1987 Alred P. Sloan, Jr., Prize, General Motors Cancer Research Foundation
1985 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
1984 Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research
1969 PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology