Robert Weinberg
Robert Allan Weinberg

(1942-11-11) November 11, 1942 (age 81)
Alma materMIT (Ph.D)
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsMolecular Biology, Oncology, and Genetics
Doctoral students

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.[5] Weinberg and Eric Lander, a colleague at M.I.T., are co-founders of Verastem, a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat cancer by targeting cancer stem cells.[6]


Weinberg earned SB in Biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964 and PhD in biology from the same institute in 1969. He was an instructor in biology at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (1965–1966), and a postdoc in Ernest Winocour's lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science (1969–1970) and in Renato Dulbecco's lab at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1970–1972). He joined MIT in 1972.[7]


He is best known for his discoveries of the first human oncogene Ras and the first tumor suppressor gene Rb[8]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,[9] that gave the six requirements for one renegade cell to cause a deadly cancer:[8] In 2011, they published an updated review article entitled "Hallmarks of cancer: the next generation".[10]

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[11] and for his mentorship of many eminent scientists, including Tyler Jacks, William C. Hahn, Clifford Tabin and Cornelia Bargmann. He is currently studying cancer cell metastasis.[12]

He is also the author of the textbook The Biology of Cancer[1] published by Garland Science, as well as two important accounts intended for a wider audience: One Renegade Cell: How Cancer Begins (1999) (Science Masters Series); and Racing to the Beginning of the Road: The Search for the Origin of Cancer (1996).

As of 2021, Weinberg has an h-index of 209 according to Google Scholar.[13]

Awards and honors

In 1985, Weinberg received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[14] 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.[15] He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2000.[16] 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.[17] In 2009 he was presented the Hope Funds Award in Basic Research.[18] In 2013 he was awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his work [19] and in 2021 he received the Japan Prize.[20]


To this day Weinberg has had five research papers retracted where he is listed as a co-author. The retractions include one paper in Cell, one in Cancer Cell, two in Genes & Development and one in Cancer Research.[21][22][23][24]

The reasons given for the retraction of one paper (DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.03.04) include: "Falsification/Fabrication of Data" and "Manipulation of Results".

See also


  1. ^ a b Weinberg, Robert (2007). The Biology of Cancer. Garland Science (published 2006). ISBN 978-0-8153-4076-8. OCLC 63114199.
  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. S2CID 12046552.
  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): 464–8. Bibcode:1999Natur.400..464H. doi:10.1038/22780. PMID 10440377. S2CID 2377425.
  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.
  5. ^ "The Deadly Side of Cancer: How Cancer Spreads with Robert Weinberg – DF/HCC".
  6. ^ "News Release - Novel Drugs Targeting Cancer Stem Cells". Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  7. ^ "CV (Robert A. Weinberg)" (PDF). Paris Sciences et Lettres University. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Siddhartha Mukherjee (2010). The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-0795-9. OCLC 464593321.
  9. ^ 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. S2CID 1478778.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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): 143–9. Bibcode:1982Natur.300..143T. doi:10.1038/300143a0. PMID 6290897. S2CID 4253259.
  12. ^ Christine L. Chaffer; Robert A. Weinberg (March 25, 2011). "A perspective on Cancer Cell Metastasis". Science. 331 (6024): 1559–1564. Bibcode:2011Sci...331.1559C. doi:10.1126/science.1203543. PMID 21436443. S2CID 10550070.
  13. ^ Robert Weinberg publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  14. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  15. ^ "Albert Einstein World Award of Science 1999". Archived from the original on March 4, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  16. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  17. ^ "The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences: Robert Weinberg". Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2009.
  18. ^ "2009 Honorees". January 2, 2009. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  19. ^ "LAUREATES 2013". Breakthrough Prize in Lifesciences. Archived from the original on December 19, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  20. ^ "The Japan Prize Foundation". The Japan Prize Foundation.
  21. ^ "Papers from MIT Cancer Biologist's Laboratory Retracted". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on July 29, 2015.
  22. ^ "Three Retractions for Highly Cited Author". Archived from the original on May 23, 2015.
  23. ^ "Cancer Research retraction is fifth for Robert Weinberg, fourth for his former student". July 6, 2015. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015.
  24. ^ Weinberg, Robert A.; Richardson, Andrea L.; Brock, Jane E.; Wang, Zhigang C.; Szász, Attila M.; Calogrias, Diana; Benaich, Nathan; Reinhardt, Ferenc; Valastyan, Scott (June 12, 2009). "Retraction of Cell paper by Robert Weinberg". Cell. 137 (6): 1032–1046. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.03.047. PMC 2766609. PMID 19524507.