Robert Allan Weinberg (born November 11, 1942) is a Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at MIT and American Cancer Society Research Professor; his research is in the area of oncogenes and the genetic basis of human cancer. Weinberg is also affiliated with the Broad Institute and is a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He co-teaches MIT course 7.012 (introductory biology) with Eric Lander.
He is best known for his discoveries of the first human oncogene Ras and the first tumor supressor gene Rbp. 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, that gave the 6 requirements for one renegade cell to cause a deadly cancer:p.390-391
|Self-sufficiency in growth signals
||"accelerator pedal stuck on"
|Insensitivity to anti-growth signals
||"brakes don't work"
||won't die when the body normally would kill the defective cell
|Limitless replicative potential
||infinite generations of descendants
||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.
He is also the author of the textbook The Biology of Cancer published by Garland Science.
He won the National Medal of Science and the Keio Medical Science Prize in 1997, 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. 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.
- Tabin, C.J., Bradley, S.M., Bargmann, C.I., Weinberg, R.A., Papageorge, A.G., Scolnick, E.M., Dhar, R., Lowy, D.R., and Chang, E.H. (1982). "Mechanism of activation of a human oncogene". Nature 300 (5888): 143–149. doi:10.1038/300143a0. PMID 6290897.
- Hahn, W.C., Counter, C.M., Lundberg, A.S., Beijersbergen, R.L., Brooks, M.W., and Weinberg, R.A. (1999). "Creation of human tumor cells with defined genetic elements". Nature 400 (6743): 464–468. doi:10.1038/22780. PMID 10440377.
- Mani SA, Guo W, Liao MJ, Eaton EN, Ayyanan A, Zhou AY, Brooks M, Reinhard F, Zhang CC, Shipitsin M, Campbell LL, Polyak K, Brisken C, Yang J, Weinberg RA. (2008). "The epithelial-mesenchymal transition generates cells with properties of stem cells". Cell 133 (4): 704–15. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2008.03.027. PMC 2728032. PMID 18485877.