Robert Weinberg

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Robert Weinberg
Born Robert Allan Weinberg
(1942-11-11) November 11, 1942 (age 79)
Nationality American
Fields Molecular Biology, Oncology, and Genetics
Alma mater MIT (Ph.D)
Doctoral students
Known for
Notable awards

Robert Allan Weinberg (born November 11, 1942) is a biologist, 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.[2][3][4]

Robert Weinberg is also affiliated with the Broad Institute and is a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He teaches at MIT including course 7.012 (introductory biology) with Eric Lander. Weinberg and Lander are among the co-founders of Verastem, which is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat cancer by targeting cancer stem cells.[5]


He is best known for his discoveries of the first human oncogene Ras and the first tumor suppressor gene Rb[6]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 led to the discovery of over one hundred 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,[7] that gave the six requirements for one renegade cell to cause a deadly cancer:[6] In 2011, they published an updated review article entitled "Hallmarks of cancer: the next generation".[8]

Capability Simple 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

Weinberg is well known for both his cancer research[9] and for his mentorship of many eminent scientists, including Tyler Jacks, Clifford Tabin and Cornelia Bargmann. He is currently studying cancer cell metastasis.[10]

He is also the author of the textbook The Biology of Cancer[1] published by Garland Science.

Awards and honors

Weinberg 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]


To this day Weinberg has retracted five research papers where he is listed as author. The retractions include one paper in Cell, one in Cancer Cell, two in Genes & Development and one in Cancer Research. [14][15][16] The reasons given for these retractions remain obscure but appear to involve a form of data manipulation that renders the published data invalid or false. For example, in the retracted Cell paper of 2009, the authors inform the readership that “original data were compiled from different replicate experiments in order to assemble the presented figure. The scope of the figure preparation issues includes compiling data from independent experiments to present them as one internally controlled experiment, statistical analyses based on technical replicates that are not reflective of the biological replicates, and comparisons of selectively chosen data points from multiple experiments.” [17]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Weinberg, Robert (2007). The Biology of Cancer. Garland Science (published 2006). ISBN 9780815340768. OCLC 63114199.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Shih, C.; Weinberg, R. A. (1982). "Isolation of a transforming sequence from a human bladder carcinoma cell line". Cell. 29 (1): 161–9. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(82)90100-3. PMID 6286138.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Weinberg, R. A.; Hahn, W. C.; Counter, C. M.; Lundberg, A. S.; Beijersbergen, R. L.; Brooks, M. W. (1999). "Creation of human tumour cells with defined genetic elements". Nature. 400 (6743): 464. Bibcode:1999Natur.400..464H. doi:10.1038/22780. PMID 10440377.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Mani, S. A.; Guo, W.; Liao, M. J.; Eaton, E. N.; Ayyanan, A.; Zhou, A. Y.; Brooks, M.; Reinhard, F.; Zhang, C. C.; Shipitsin, M.; Campbell, L. L.; Polyak, K.; Brisken, C.; Yang, J.; Weinberg, R. A. (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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Siddhartha Mukherjee (2010). The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-0795-9. OCLC 464593321.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Hanahan, Douglas; Weinberg, RA (January 7, 2000). "The Hallmarks of Cancer". Cell. 100 (1): 57–70. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81683-9. ISSN 0092-8674. PMID 10647931.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Hanahan, D.; Weinberg, R. A. (2011). "Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation". Cell. 144 (5): 646–674. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2011.02.013. PMID 21376230.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Tabin, C. J.; Bradley, S. M.; Bargmann, C. I.; Weinberg, R. A.; Papageorge, A. G.; Scolnick, E. M.; Dhar, R.; Lowy, D. R.; Chang, E. H. (1982). "Mechanism of activation of a human oncogene". Nature. 300 (5888): 143. doi:10.1038/300143a0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Christine L. Chaffer; Robert A. Weinberg (March 25, 2011). "A perspective on Cancer Cell Metastasis". Science. 331 (6024): 1559–1564. doi:10.1126/science.1203543. PMID 21436443.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Albert Einstein World Award of Science 1999". Retrieved August 13, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences: Robert Weinberg". Retrieved September 27, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  13. "LAUREATES 2013". Breakthrough Prize in Lifesciences. Retrieved December 19, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Papers from MIT Cancer Biologist's Laboratory Retracted".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Three Retractions for Highly Cited Author".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Cancer Research retraction is fifth for Robert Weinberg, fourth for his former student".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Retraction of Cell paper by Robert Weinberg".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links