Michael J. Weber, PhD, an AACR member and former director of the University of Virginia (UVA) Cancer Center, died February 11, 2021, at the age of 78.
Weber graduated from Bronx High School of Science, then earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Haverford College and a PhD in biology from the University of California, San Diego. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley.
Weber was a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1971 to 1984, then joined UVA, where he was the Weaver Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology in the School of Medicine. His research focused on understanding cancer cell signaling as a target for cancer therapy. With colleagues, he helped discover mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP kinase), a cellular protein that is a key regulator of cell growth and an important drug target in many cancer therapies.
In 2000, Weber was named the director of the UVA Cancer Center. During his tenure as director, Weber presided over the development of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center and helped expand clinical trials. He advocated for a full integration of basic and translational research, clinical trials, and compassionate patient care. After his retirement, he held the title of director emeritus, and he continued to run a lab. In recent years, his research contributed to the discovery of a novel drug combination therapy for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and mantle cell lymphoma.
Weber joined the AACR in 1997. He served on an AACR Career Development Awards Committee and was an invited speaker in a 2004 AACR Special Conference on Advances in Prostate Cancer.
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