Robert A. Weinberg

Robert A. Weinberg

Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research; Core Member, Whitehead Institute

Robert A. Weinberg studies how cancer spreads, what gives cancer stem-cells their unique qualities, and the molecular players involved in the formation of cancer stem cells and metastases.





Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research


Sumiko Williams



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 1969, MIT
  • SB, 1964, Biology, MIT

Research Summary

We investigate three broad questions related to the origin and spread of cancer. First, how do cancer cells within a primary tumor acquire the ability to invade and metastasize? Second, how are the stem-cell state and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition interrelated? Third, how are the regulators of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition able to activate this profound change in cell phenotype?


  • Japan Prize, Japan Prize Foundation, 2021
  • Salk Institute Medal for Research Excellence, 2016
  • Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, 2013
  • Wolf Foundation Prize, 2004
  • Institute of Medicine, Member, 2000
  • Keio Medical Science Foundation Prize, 1997
  • National Science Foundation, National Medal of Science, 1997
  • Harvey Prize, 1994
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow, 1987
  • Sloan Prize, GM Cancer Research Foundation, 1987
  • National Academy of Sciences, Member, 1985
  • Robert Koch Foundation Prize, 1983

Key Publications

  1. The epithelial-mesenchymal transition generates cells with properties of stem cells. Mani, SA, Guo, W, Liao, MJ, Eaton, EN, Ayyanan, A, Zhou, AY, Brooks, M, Reinhard, F, Zhang, CC, Shipitsin, M et al.. 2008. Cell 133, 704-15.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.03.027PMID:18485877
  2. Twist, a master regulator of morphogenesis, plays an essential role in tumor metastasis. Yang, J, Mani, SA, Donaher, JL, Ramaswamy, S, Itzykson, RA, Come, C, Savagner, P, Gitelman, I, Richardson, A, Weinberg, RA et al.. 2004. Cell 117, 927-39.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2004.06.006PMID:15210113
  3. A human DNA segment with properties of the gene that predisposes to retinoblastoma and osteosarcoma. Friend, SH, Bernards, R, Rogelj, S, Weinberg, RA, Rapaport, JM, Albert, DM, Dryja, TP. Nature 323, 643-6.
    doi: 10.1038/323643a0PMID:2877398
  4. Mechanism of activation of a human oncogene. Tabin, CJ, Bradley, SM, Bargmann, CI, Weinberg, RA, Papageorge, AG, Scolnick, EM, Dhar, R, Lowy, DR, Chang, EH. 1982. Nature 300, 143-9.
    doi: 10.1038/300143a0PMID:6290897
  5. Transforming genes of carcinomas and neuroblastomas introduced into mouse fibroblasts. Shih, C, Padhy, LC, Murray, M, Weinberg, RA. 1981. Nature 290, 261-4.
    doi: 10.1038/290261a0PMID:7207618

Recent Publications

  1. Cell-intrinsic and microenvironmental determinants of metastatic colonization. Lambert, AW, Zhang, Y, Weinberg, RA. 2024. Nat Cell Biol 26, 687-697.
    doi: 10.1038/s41556-024-01409-8PMID:38714854
  2. Inaugurating High-Throughput Profiling of Extracellular Vesicles for Earlier Ovarian Cancer Detection. Jo, A, Green, A, Medina, JE, Iyer, S, Ohman, AW, McCarthy, ET, Reinhardt, F, Gerton, T, Demehin, D, Mishra, R et al.. 2023. Adv Sci (Weinh) 10, e2301930.
    doi: 10.1002/advs.202301930PMID:37485618
  3. Layer-by-layer interleukin-12 nanoparticles drive a safe and effective response in ovarian tumors. Barberio, AE, Smith, SG, Pires, IS, Iyer, S, Reinhardt, F, Melo, MB, Suh, H, Weinberg, RA, Irvine, DJ, Hammond, PT et al.. 2023. Bioeng Transl Med 8, e10453.
    doi: 10.1002/btm2.10453PMID:36925719
  4. ΔNp63/p73 drive metastatic colonization by controlling a regenerative epithelial stem cell program in quasi-mesenchymal cancer stem cells. Lambert, AW, Fiore, C, Chutake, Y, Verhaar, ER, Strasser, PC, Chen, MW, Farouq, D, Das, S, Li, X, Eaton, EN et al.. 2022. Dev Cell 57, 2714-2730.e8.
    doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2022.11.015PMID:36538894
  5. Genome-wide CRISPR screen identifies PRC2 and KMT2D-COMPASS as regulators of distinct EMT trajectories that contribute differentially to metastasis. Zhang, Y, Donaher, JL, Das, S, Li, X, Reinhardt, F, Krall, JA, Lambert, AW, Thiru, P, Keys, HR, Khan, M et al.. 2022. Nat Cell Biol 24, 554-564.
    doi: 10.1038/s41556-022-00877-0PMID:35411083
  6. An EMT-primary cilium-GLIS2 signaling axis regulates mammogenesis and claudin-low breast tumorigenesis. Wilson, MM, Callens, C, Le Gallo, M, Mironov, S, Ding, Q, Salamagnon, A, Chavarria, TE, Viel, R, Peasah, AD, Bhutkar, A et al.. 2021. Sci Adv 7, eabf6063.
    doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abf6063PMID:34705506
  7. Leveraging immunochemotherapy for treating pancreatic cancer. Dongre, A, Weinberg, RA. 2021. Cell Res 31, 1228-1229.
    doi: 10.1038/s41422-021-00574-xPMID:34667266
  8. Author Correction: Guidelines and definitions for research on epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Yang, J, Antin, P, Berx, G, Blanpain, C, Brabletz, T, Bronner, M, Campbell, K, Cano, A, Casanova, J, Christofori, G et al.. 2021. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 22, 834.
    doi: 10.1038/s41580-021-00428-9PMID:34654908
  9. Measuring kinetics and metastatic propensity of CTCs by blood exchange between mice. Hamza, B, Miller, AB, Meier, L, Stockslager, M, Ng, SR, King, EM, Lin, L, DeGouveia, KL, Mulugeta, N, Calistri, NL et al.. 2021. Nat Commun 12, 5680.
    doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-25917-5PMID:34584084
  10. Linking EMT programmes to normal and neoplastic epithelial stem cells. Lambert, AW, Weinberg, RA. 2021. Nat Rev Cancer 21, 325-338.
    doi: 10.1038/s41568-021-00332-6PMID:33547455
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Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute