Kenneth C. Anderson, M.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Anderson is the Kraft Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of both the LeBow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics and the Jerome Lipper Center for Multiple Myeloma at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Research Scientist and an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor.
For the past 30 years, Dr. Anderson’s laboratory and clinical research has focused on multiple myeloma, including that development of laboratory and animal models of the tumor in its microenvironment, which resulted in the identification of novel targets and the validation of targeted therapies. His team led preclinical and clinical studies of the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib and the immunomodulatory drug lenalidomide, both of which received rapid FDA approval for the treatment of myeloma and are now markedly improving patient outcomes. Dr. Anderson’s work has transformed myeloma therapy, offering great promise even for patients with other hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.
A graduate of Johns Hopkins Medical School, Dr. Anderson trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, then completed hematology, medical oncology, and tumor immunology training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His awards include the 2003 Waldenström’s Award, the 2005 Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2007 Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research, and the 2008 William Dameshek Prize. He was elected into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 2009 and, in 2010, to the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academies and the U.K.’s Royal College of Pathologists.
Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D., is Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Cantley graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1971. He obtained a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Cornell University in 1975 and did postdoctoral training at Harvard University. Prior to taking the position at Weill Cornell, he taught and did research in biochemistry, physiology and cancer biology in Boston, most recently at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical. His laboratory discovered the PI 3-Kinase pathway that plays a critical role in insulin signaling and in cancers. Dr. Cantley is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received a number of awards for his research, including the 2005 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research, the 2009 Rolf Luft Award for Diabetes and
Endocrinology Research and the 2013 Breakthrough in Life Sciences Prize. Dr. Cantley is the Mentor of Hope Funds Fellow, Gina DeNicola, Ph.D.
William Cho, Ph.D.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Dr. Cho is a member of the Department of Clinical Oncology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong, China. Dr. Cho is an international opinion leader in the fields of lung cancer, oncoproteins and biomarkers. He is widely published in the area as well as frequent presenter at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting and the American Association of Clinical Research Meeting. He is an editorial board member of various international journals, including the Expert Review of Proteomics, European Journal of Pharmacology and the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Dr. Cho is a reviewer for Science Foundation Ireland and The National Medical Research Council (Singapore).
Don Cleveland, Ph.D.
UC San Diego, Ludwig Center
Don Cleveland, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Neurosciences, and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, is chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. A former head of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate program, the major graduate program in the Health Sciences at UC San Diego, Cleveland is well known for his contributions to graduate education. His pioneering discoveries of the mechanisms of chromosome movement and cell-cycle control during normal cellular division, as well as of the principles of neuronal cell development and their relationship to the defects that contribute to inherited neurodegenerative disease, led to his being named to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences as well as the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. Cleveland received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Princeton. Following his post-doctoral work at UC San Francisco, he was a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine until joining UC San Diego in 1995. He has been an Editor of the Journal of Cell Biology for the last 17 years, and was Editor of Current Opinion in Cell Biology for nearly a decade. He regularly serves as a reviewer for many first-tier journals such as Science, Cell, Nature, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience and Journal of Clinical Investigation. He is a sought-after lecturer and has been keynote speaker at the annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience, the American Society for Cell Biology, and the American Academy of Neurology.
James E. Darnell, Jr., M.D.
Dr. Darnell is the Vincent Astor Professor Emeritus at The Rockefeller University. An internationally renowned molecular biologist, James Darnell uses biochemistry and genetic analysis to reveal the fundamental mechanisms of intracellular signaling and gene regulation in animal cells.
Dr. Darnell received his M.D. in 1955 from the Washington University School of Medicine. His career has included poliovirus research with Harry Eagle at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, research with Francois Jacob at the Institut Pasteur in Paris and academic appointments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Columbia University. In 1974, Dr. Darnell joined Rockefeller University as Vincent Astor Professor, and from 1990 to 1991 was vice president for academic affairs.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, received the 2003 National Medal of Science, and the 2002 Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science. Dr. Darnell is the originating author of Molecular Cell Biology, a seminal textbook that he co-wrote with David Baltimore and Harvey Lodish. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a foreign member of the Royal Society and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Darnell was the Hope Funds Honoree in Basic Science in 2010. He and his wife Kristin were Honorary co-chairs of the Hope Funds 2011 Gala.
George Demetri, M.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Demetri is a medical oncologist at the Dana Farber Institute and is a key-opinion-leader in sarcomas and gastro-intestinal stromal tumors (GIST). Dr. Demetri received his MD from Stanford University in 1983, followed by an internal medicine residency and chief residency at the University of Washington Hospital, Seattle, and a fellowship in medical oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in 1989. He is director of the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology at DFCI, director of the Ludwig Center at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, and executive director for Clinical and Translational Research at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. George is the Hope Funds Award of Excellence Honoree for Clinical Development in 2010.
Wolfram Goessling, M.D., Ph.D.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Goessling is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Assistant Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School/MIT. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Witten/Herdecke Medical School, Germany. Dr. Goessling completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he also served as Chief Medical Resident. He then completed fellowships in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and in gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Leonard Zon at The Children’s Hospital Boston. Dr. Goessling’s research and clinical activities focus on liver cancer and stem cell development, contributing to the work that led the first drug discovered in zebrafish to clinical trial. He has received a BASF Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the George Brecher Prize from the International Society of Experimental Hematology; he was the 2009 William Randolph Hearst Young Investigator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
William C. Hahn, M.D., Ph.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & The Broad Institute at MIT
Dr. Hahn is an associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hahn received his MD and PhD from Harvard Medical School in 1994. He then completed clinical training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and medical oncology at DFCI. He conducted his postdoctoral studies with Dr. Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute and joined the faculty at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in 2001. Dr. Hahn was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation in, 2005; won the Kimmel Scholar Award in 2002, the Howard Temin Award at the National Cancer Institute in 2001, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award in 2000, and the Wilson S. Stone Memorial Award at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2000.
Gregory Hannon, Ph.D.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Greg Hannon is a Professor in the Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He received a B.A. degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Case Western Reserve University. From 1992 to 1995, he was a postdoctoral fellow of the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fund, where he explored cell cycle regulation in mammalian cells. After becoming an Assistant Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1996 and a Pew Scholar in 1997, in 2000, he began to make seminal observations in the emerging field of RNA interference. In 2002 Dr. Hannon accepted a position as Professor at CSHL where he continued to reveal that endogenous non-coding RNAs, then known as small temporal RNAs and now as microRNAs, enter the RNAi pathway through Dicer and direct RISC to regulate the expression of endogenous protein coding genes. He assumed his current position in 2005 as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and continues to explore the mechanisms and regulation of RNA interference as well as its applications to cancer research.
Kyle Hoehn, Ph.D.
University of New South Wales
Dr. Hoehn’s laboratory investigates how cells use nutrients in both normal conditions and disease states. Our overall objective is to determine whether altering cellular nutrient metabolism can prevent or reverse diseases including obesity, cancer, and diabetes. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Univ. of Northern Colorado in 2000, his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, Univ. of Northern Colorado in 2000, his Master of Science in Biochemistry, Colorado State Univ. in 2001 and his PhD in Biochemistry, Colorado State Univ.in 2005. Kyle is the Mentor of our Fellow Frances Byrne, PhD.
Robert Johnson, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Johnson served as Kosan’s Chief Executive Officer from April 2006 – 2010. Dr. Johnson was Executive Vice President, Development, and Chief Medical Officer. From January 2002 to April 2004, Dr. Johnson served as Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs and Corporate Development, and in January 2003, he was also named Kosan’s Chief Medical Officer. From September 2000 to January 2002, Dr. Johnson served as Vice President, Medical Affairs and Corporate Development. From 1998 to September 2000, Dr. Johnson was employed by Chiron Corporation, where he served as Vice President, Pharmacology and Preclinical Affairs through 1999 and as Vice President, Corporate Development. From 1991 to 1998, Dr. Johnson was Director of Pharmacology at Merck & Co., Inc. In addition, Dr. Johnson was a member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1991 and at Harvard Medical School from 1985 to 1987. Dr. Johnson received a B.A. and a Ph.D. in biophysics and an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Carla Kim, Ph.D.
Children’s Hospital Boston/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Carla Kim is a Principal Investigator at Children’s Hospital Boston and an Associate Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. She is interested in the relationships between stem cell biology, cancer biology, and lung biology. She earned her PhD in Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She went on to a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Tyler Jacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Cancer Research. There, she developed a method to isolate the first stem cell population from the adult murine lung, termed bronchioalveolar stem cells (BASCs). She also showed that BASCs are critically affected by an oncogenic K-ras mutation and may be the cell-of-origin of lung adenocarcinomas. In addition to her work at Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Kim is a principal faculty and executive committee member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. She is also a member of the Lung Cancer Program at the Dana Farber/Havard Cancer Center Lung Cancer Program.
Scott Powers, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Labs
Scott has a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Columbia University. His past positions include: being a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; a Staff Investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistryat Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; a Senior Scientist at Onyx Pharmaceuticals; a Scientific Director at Amplicon/Tularik in the Genomics Division; an Adjunct Associate Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; and an Associate Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
John Quackenbush, PhD
Harvard University/Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Quackenbush is Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Harvard University. John is a thought leader in genomic approaches to cancer, and a highly creative thinker. He helped write the guidelines for evaluating microarray data for the Nature family of journals, and runs a very productive research group at Dana Farber.
Genomics has transformed biological science not by producing genome sequences and gene catalogs for a range of species, but rather through the development of technologies that allow us to survey, on a global scale, organisms and their gene, protein, and metabolic patterns of expression. The challenge is no longer how to generate these vast bodies of genomic data, but rather in how to best collect, manage, and analyze the data. As a community, we have a long history of studying biological systems and our best strategy moving forward is to leverage that knowledge so as to best interpret genome scale datasets. Our research group focuses on methods spanning the laboratory to the laptop that are designed to use genomic and computational approaches to reveal the underlying biology. In particular, we have been looking at patterns of gene expression in cancer with the goal of elucidating the networks and pathways that are fundamental in the development and progression of the disease. Education: Ph.D., 1990, University of California at Los Angeles.
Joshua Rabinowitz, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Rabinowitz is a Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University. He is co-founder and Vice President of Alexza Pharmaceuticals. He received his MD from Stanford University in 2001 and his Ph.D. in Biophysics in 1999. He received his B.A. with Highest Honors in Mathematics, and B.A. in Chemistry in 1994 from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Rabinowitz has received the following honors: Kavli Frontiers of Science Scholar, Kavli Foundation and National Academy of Sciences, 2008; CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2007; Beckman Young Investigator Award, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, 2005; Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Trainee, National Institutes of Health, 1994–2001; Churchill Fellow (Declined), 1994; Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, Federal Excellence in Education Foundation, U.S. Federal Government, 1993–1994; President, Phi Beta Kappa, University of North Carolina, 1993–1994; and the Herbert Worth Jackson Scholar, University of North Carolina Honors Program, 1990–1994.
Thomas Reynolds, M.D.
Two Paddles Consulting LLC
Dr. Reynolds is President of Two Paddles Consulting LLC since December 2013, providing consulting services to biotechnology companies. Dr. Reynolds currently serves as an independent director of Mei Pharma and Trillium Therapeutics Inc., both public companies. Previously, he served as Chief Medical Officer of Seattle Genetics from March 2007 until his retirement in February 2013. While at Seattle Genetics, he was responsible for building and leading an integrated clinical development, regulatory and medical affairs organization, highlighted by the development and approval of ADCETRIS®. From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Reynolds served at ZymoGenetics (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2010), most recently as Vice President, Medical Affairs, where he oversaw the clinical development and regulatory filing of RECOTHROM®. Previously, he was Vice President, Clinical Affairs at Targeted Genetics, and before that was at Somatix Therapy (acquired by Cell Genesys in 1997). Dr. Reynolds received his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biophysics from Stanford University and a B.A. in Chemistry from Dartmouth College.
Joan M. Robbins, Ph.D.
Prior to joing Tocagen as Chief Science Officer, Dr. Robbins was the Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President of Adventrx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to joining Adventrx, Joan was employed by Immusol, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company specializing in anticancer and antiviral therapeutics, where she held several positions, including Vice President, Product Development, Senior Director, Product Development, and Director, Therapeutics. From 1994 to 1995, she was Research Scientist and Project Leader for Cancer Research at Chiron where she developed y-IFN recombinant retroviral immuno-gene therapy for cancer, assays for clinical evaluation in Phase I, and tk-recombinant retroviral gene therapy for brain tumors. From 1992 to 1993, Dr. Robbins was a Post Graduate Researcher at University of California, San Diego, where she developed a novel DNA-based immunotherapeutic for treatment of Her2/neu expressing tumors. From 1990 to 1991, she was a Research Fellow at the Garvin Institute for Medical Research, Centre for Immunology in Sydney, Australia, and from 1981 to 1989, Dr. Robbins was a Microbiologist at the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Robbins received her B.S. degree in genetics from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. degree in genetics from George Washington University, Washington D.C.
Takashi Shimokawa, Ph.D
Dr. Shimokawa is a member of the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He is a leading researcher in the field of oncogenes. His work is primarily focused on oncogenes and oncoproteins involved in colorectal cancer.
Frank J. Slack, PhD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard University
Molecular biologist Frank Slack, PhD, an international leader in the study and understanding of microRNAs, a subset of non-coding RNA, became the director of the The Institute for RNA Medicine (iRM) at The Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, on July 1, 2014. Prior to joining BIDMC, Dr. Slack was a member of the Yale University faculty, most recently as a Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Director of the Yale Center for RNA Science and Medicine. He holds a doctorate in molecular biology from Tufts University School of Medicine and completed postdoctoral training at Stanford University School of Medicine and Harvard University.
Dennis J. Slamon, M.D., Ph.D.
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dennis J. Slamon’s work resulted in the first molecularly targeted treatment for breast cancer. He serves as director of the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is also a professor of medicine, chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and executive vice chair for research for the UCLA Department of Medicine. Additionally, Slamon serves as director of Clinical/Translational Research and the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Health Research Program at the cancer center. For 12 years, Slamon and his colleagues conducted the laboratory and clinical research that led to the development of Herceptin, which targets a genetic alteration found in about 25 percent of breast cancer patients. Herceptin, approved by FDA in September 1998, was the first in a wave of new treatments that target genetic mutations that cause cells to become malignant. In June 2002, President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Slamon to a two-year term on the three-member President’s Cancer Panel. Dr. Slamon has received numerous prizes including: the Dorothy P. Landon-AACR Prize for Translational Cancer Research in 2003; the 19th annual Warren Alpert Foundation Scientific Prize, awarded by Harvard Medical School in 2007; and the Gairdner International Award in 2007. Dr. Slamon is a 1975 honors graduate of the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, having received an M.D. and a Ph.D. in cell biology the same year. He completed his internship and residency at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics, becoming Chief Resident in 1978. One year later, he became a fellow in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at UCLA.
Joan Steitz, Ph.D.
Dr. Steitz is Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is known for her discoveries involving RNA. Joan received her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Antioch College, Ohio and studied molecular biology in Alex Rich’s lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an Antioch “coop” intern. She was accepted to Harvard Medical School, but having been excited by bench-science in the laboratory of Joseph Gall at the University of Minnesota, she declined the invitation to Harvard Medical School and instead applied to Harvard’s program in biochemistry and molecular biology. She was the first female graduate student to join the laboratory of James D. Watson. Dr. Steitz completed her postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge (UK), where she collaborated with Francis Crick, Sydney Brenner, and Mark Bretscher. At Cambridge, Dr. Steitz discovered the exact sequences on mRNA at which bacterial ribosomes bind to produce proteins. In 1969 she published a seminal paper in Nature showing the nucleotide sequence of the bound start points. In 1970, Dr. Steitz joined the faculty at Yale. In 1975, she published the research for which she is widely known, demonstrating that ribosomes use complementary base pairing to identify the start sites on bacterial mRNA. Starting in 1979 with her MD/PhD student Michael Lerner, she identified novel cellular entities called snRNPs and defined their roles in splicing. Her later characterization of another kind of snRNP particle, snoRNPs, demonstrated conclusively that introns are not junk-DNA. Dr. Steitz has served in numerous professional capacities, including as scientific director of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research (1991–2002) and as editorial board member of Genes & Development. She has been honored with many awards, including the National Medal of Science, and membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London (Foreign Member).
Sohail Tavazoie, M.D., Ph.D.
Sohail Tavazoie is the Leon Hess Assistant Professor and head of Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Systems Cancer Biology. Dr. Tavazoie is working to identify molecular biomarkers that will reveal two crucial traits of cancer cells. Sohail Tavazoie received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Following a residency and internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, he joined Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as a clinical fellow in 2005 and became a research fellow in medical oncology in 2006. He joined Rockefeller as Leon Hess Assistant Professor earlier this year. Tavazoie is a recipient of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award and was named a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar and a Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research Scholar.
James D. Watson, Ph.D.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
James Dewey Watson is best known as a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick. He was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Crick and Maurice Wilkins, University College London. The publication of the double helix structure of DNA can be regarded as a turning point in science: human understanding of life was fundamentally changed and the modern era of biology began.
Dr. Watson received his B.S. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from Indiana University with Dr. Salvador Luria as his advisor. He did postdoctoral research with the biochemist Dr. Herman Kalckar in Copenhagen. From 1952 to 1956, Dr. Watson worked at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory in England, where he first met his future collaborator and friend Francis Crick. In late February 1953, Watson and Crick deduced the double helix structure of DNA and its alphabet of bases represented by the letters ATGC which spell out the code of life and is always paired in a way to pass on genetic information faithfully with every cell division. Near the end of their paper Watson and Crick concluded, with what is regarded as the most famous understatement in science, “It has not escaped our attention that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.” In fact most scientists regard the elucidation of the double helix as one of the most important research achievements ever, a discovery that will be remembered along with the work of Newton, Darwin and Einstein.
Dr. Watson’s illustrious career only began with the double helix. From 1956 to 1976, he was on the faculty of the Harvard University Biology Department, promoting research in molecular biology. From 1968 Dr. Watson served as director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. At CSHL, he shifted his research emphasis to the study of cancer, along with making CSHL a world leading research center in molecular biology. In 1994, he started as president and served for 10 years. He was then appointed chancellor, serving until 2007, and is currently chancellor emeritus. Between 1988 and 1992, Dr. Watson played a leading roll in obtaining public support for the National Institutes of Health, helping to establish the Human Genome Project and he served as the project’s first director.
Robert A. Weinberg Ph.D.
Whitehead Institute, MIT
Dr. Weinberg is the Founding Member of Whitehead Institute, Robert A. Weinberg is a pioneer in cancer research. He is most widely known for his discoveries of the first human oncogene – a gene that causes normal cells to form tumors – and the first tumor suppressor gene. Dr. Weinberg’s lab continues to study the molecular mechanisms that control the growth of human tumors and their ability to seed distant growths —metastases. This work has revealed ways in which normal stromal (connective tissue) cells recruited into a tumor aid the growth and survival of the cancer cells. In addition, by studying genes that are normally active early in embryonic development, Dr. Weinberg and colleagues have discovered mechanisms by which cancer cells in a primary tumor acquire the ability to invade nearby tissues and to spread to distant sites in the body.
Dr. Weinberg, who received his Ph.D. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969, has held research positions at the Weizmann Institute and the Salk Institute. In 1982, Weinberg helped found Whitehead Institute, joined the faculty as a professor of biology at MIT, and published his landmark paper “Mechanism of Activation of a Human Oncogene” in the journal Nature. In 1999, another major paper, “Creation of Human Tumor Cells with Defined Genetic Elements,” was also published in the journal Nature.
Dr. Weinberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and received the National Medal of Science in 1997. He is the founder of the biotechnology company, Verastem.
Professor Bryan R.G. Williams, Ph.D.
Professor Williams is a distinguished researcher and international authority on innate immunity and cancer biology. He received his PhD from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, he held faculty positions at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada. He was Chairman of the Department of Cancer Biology at the Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, USA, before joining the Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR) as Director. He is currently Director and CEO of the Hudson Institute of Medical Research, created by the merging of MIMR with Prince Henry’s Institute. Professor Williams is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.