Whitehead Launches Affiliate Program

November 13, 2002

Tags: Awards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In today’s research arena, success requires biologists, physicians, chemists, mathematicians, and bioinformatics specialists to funnel unique expertise into shared projects. At Whitehead, interdisciplinary collaboration has fostered discoveries at the intersection of what were once disparate disciplines and has inspired the Institute to aggressively recruit diverse talent to the lab.

Whitehead recently launched a new program that confers Affiliate Member status on faculty at MIT and other institutions who have a strong working relationship with Whitehead scientists. MIT researcher Dave Gifford and Genome Center collaborators David Altshuler and Todd Golub are the first to be tapped for Affiliate Member status. Affiliate status is for a three-year renewable term.

"The program provides affiliates with access to Whitehead's unique resources and environment. In return, they share their skills and expertise with the Institute's staff and enrich our scientific program," says Whitehead Director Susan Lindquist. "David, Todd, and Dave all bring exceptional talent and ideas to our science. I am particularly delighted to inaugurate this important program with their participation."

The program will enable the Institute to complement the talent it already cultivates through traditional academic appointments and hiring processes.

"The Whitehead Institute has an amazing collection of scientists, and the on-going collaboration between the MIT Computer Science Department and Whitehead is blazing new trails in systems biology," says Gifford. "Our collaboration provides unprecedented opportunities for Computer Science, Whitehead faculty, and students to work as a team. I am honored to be a Whitehead Affiliate Member, and look forward to working closely with Whitehead on the application of predictive computational modeling to important biological problems."

Altshuler is the Director of the Program on Medical and Population Genetics at the Whitehead/MIT Genome Center. Altshuler also is Assistant Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Altshuler is leading programs in study of human genetic variation and its application to disease. Among his discoveries is the finding that a common genetic variant increases the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.

Golub is the Director of the Cancer Genomics Program at Whitehead Genome Center. Golub also is Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and a Pediatric Oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He recently was named an assistant investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Golub is applying genomic tools to the classification and study of cancers. He has helped create new global views of cancer, leading to reclassification of leukemia and lung, prostate, and many other cancers based on patterns of gene expression rather than on appearance under the microscope. The same approach also has led to identification of new targets for cancer therapy.

"This is a wonderful honor, and I very much look forward to continued scientific interactions with the Whitehead scientific community," says Golub.

"I am so delighted that the Whitehead Institute has decided to recognize our contributions in this manner. It is a pleasure to be part of the Whitehead community, and I look forward to continuing productive collaborations and conversations," says Altshuler.

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