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Robert A. Weinberg

This article is about the biologist. For the author, editor and comic book writer, see Robert Weinberg (author).

Robert Allan Weinberg
Born (1942-11-11) November 11, 1942 (age 71)
Nationality American
Fields Genetics
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Whitehead Institute

Robert Allan Weinberg (born on 11 November 1942) is a Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), director of the Ludwig Center of the MIT and American Cancer Society Research Professor; his research is in the area of oncogenes and the genetic basis of human cancer.

Robert Weinberg is also affiliated with the


He is best known for his discoveries of the first human oncogene Ras and the first tumor supressor gene Rb[2]p. 371-381, which is partially documented in Natalie Angier′s book, Natural Obsessions, about her year spent in Weinberg's lab.

In the late 20th century, advances in genetics lead to the discovery of over 100 cancer cell types. Cancer cells were noted for their bewildering diversity. It was hard to identify the principles that cancers had in common. He and Douglas Hanahan wrote the seminal paper, "The Hallmarks of Cancer", published in January 2000,[3] that gave the 6 requirements for one renegade cell to cause a deadly cancer:[2]p.390-391

Capability Simple Explanation/Analogy
Self-sufficiency in growth signals "accelerator pedal stuck on"
Insensitivity to anti-growth signals "brakes don't work"
Evading apoptosis won't die when the body normally would kill the defective cell
Limitless replicative potential infinite generations of descendants
Sustained angiogenesis asking the body to give it a blood supply
Tissue invasion and metastasis migrating and spreading to other organs and tissues

He is well known for both his brilliance in cancer research and for his mentorship of many eminent scientists, including Tyler Jacks. He is currently studying cancer cell metastasis.[4]

He is also the author of the textbook Garland Science.


He won the National Medal of Science and the Keio Medical Science Prize in 1997. In 1999, he received the Albert Einstein World Award of Science in recognition of his valuable and pioneering contributions in the field of Biomedical Sciences and for his productive trajectory related to the genetic and molecular basis of neoplastic disease.[5] He obtained the Wolf Prize in Medicine in 2004 (shared with Roger Y. Tsien), and he is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 2007 he received an honorary doctorate degree in commemoration of Linnaeus from Uppsala University. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 1992.[6] In 2009 he was presented the Hope Funds Award in Basic Research. In 2013 he was awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his work.

See also

Notes and references


External links

  • Weinberg's page at the Whitehead Institute
  • Weinberg's page at MIT
  • Weinberg Lab
  • Dinnertime Sampler radio show March 17, 2004

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