Robert Weinberg honored with 2004 Prince of Asturias Award

June 23, 2004

Tags: Weinberg LabAwards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Whitehead Member Robert Weinberg is one of five researchers honored with the 2004 Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research, the Prince of Asturias Foundation announced this week in Oviedo, Spain.

Sharing the award are fellow cancer researchers Judah Folkman, Harvard Medical School; Tony Hunter, Salk Institute; Joan Massagué Solé, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Bert Vogelstein, Johns Hopkins University.

“The Prince of Asturias Award is one of the most prestigious that the world has to offer, and I am flattered beyond words at this recognition,” Weinberg said. “People like myself work in the research laboratory because it is fascinating and may one day help human suffering, and so recognition like this is unexpected and persuades one that the fruits of one’s labor are recognized beyond the narrow confines of research laboratories.”

The Prince of Asturias Foundation Awards, established in 1981, acknowledge and extol “scientific, cultural, social and humanistic work carried out by individuals, groups or institutions worldwide.” The Award for Technical and Scientific Research recognizes “the individual, working group or institution whose discoveries or research represent a significant contribution to the progress of humanity in the fields of mathematics, physics, biology, medicine, and earth and space science, as well as their related technical aspects and technologies.”

Weinberg, a pioneer in cancer research, discovered the first human oncogene and the first tumor suppressor gene. Today, much of his research focuses on new models of breast cancer development and studies of telomerase, a key target for cancer therapy. A recipient of the 1997 National Medal of Science, he earned his PhD in biology from MIT in 1969. He was appointed a professor at MIT in 1982, the same year he joined the Whitehead Institute. Weinberg was named American Cancer Society Research Professor in 1985 and received the Daniel K. Ludwig Professorship for Cancer Research in 1997. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Weinberg’s numerous honors include: Discover Magazine 1982 Scientist of the Year, Bristol-Myers Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research (1984), the Gairdner Foundation International Award (1992), and the Wolf Prize in Medicine (2004).

Each of the Prince of Asturias Awards is endowed with 50,000 euros, a commissioned sculpture donated by Joan Miro, a diploma and an insignia. The awards will be presented this autumn at a grand ceremony chaired by H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias.

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