American Philosophical Society
Member History

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Resident (1)
2. Biological Sciences[X]
207. Genetics[X]
1Name:  Dr. Robert A. Weinberg
 Institution:  Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research & Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 Year Elected:  2000
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  207. Genetics
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1942
Robert Weinberg's research has focused on the molecular origins of human cancer. His work in 1979 demonstrated for the first time that tumor cells arising in mice treated with chemical carcinogens carry distinct genes - sometimes termed oncogenes - that are responsible for driving the malignant growth of these cells. This work was soon shown by his own lab and others to be applicable to human cancers as well. In 1983, his group demonstrated that the transformation of a normal cell into a tumor cell depends upon several distinct genetic changes occurring in these cells. In 1986, his group was responsible for isolating a second type of cancer-causing gene, termed a tumor suppressor gene, which in normal cells acts to prevent cancerous growth and which is inactivated in tumor cells. More recently, his group demonstrated that a third type of gene, termed telomerase, plays an equivalently important role in cancer formation. Thus, by introducing three distinct types of genetic changes into normal human cells, involving an oncogene, two tumor suppressor genes, and telomerase, his group was able for the first time to convert normal human cells into tumor-forming cells. This research establishes the genetic bases of human cancer formation. A member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research since 1982, Dr. Weinberg is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D., 1969) and has served on the M.I.T. faculty since 1972. Winner of the 1997 National Medal of Science, he was elected to the membership of the National Academy of Sciences in 1985 and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1989. He won the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2013.
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