Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
Robert A. Weinberg, the American Cancer Society Professor of Biology, Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research and a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, will deliver the 28th annual Killian Award Lecture, "Genes and the Origin of Human Cancer," on Wednesday, March 8 at 4pm in Wong Auditorium (Building E51).
Studies by Professor Weinberg, who has been on the MIT faculty since 1973, "have not only led to promising approaches to the prevention and ultimately the possible cure of neoplastic diseases, but have also greatly enhanced our understanding of the complex and subtle mechanisms responsible for growth and maintenance of the organs of multicellular organisms," said Professor Boris Magasanik, chair of the award's selection committee, when Professor Weinberg was announced as winner of the 1999 Killian Faculty Achievement Award last May.
"Epidemiology indicates that human tumors develop over a period of many decades, appearing as the end products of a multistep process known as tumor progression," Professor Weinberg (SB 1964, PhD 1969) wrote in the abstract for his upcoming talk. "Indeed, one finds that human cancer cells invariably harbor multiple mutated genes that collaborate with one another to program malignant proliferation. These genes have suffered damage at various times during tumor progression. We are now poised to understand human cancer development from its inception to its end."
The annual Killian award was established in 1971 as a tribute to the late James R. Killian, MIT's 10th president and former chairman of the Corporation.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 1, 2000.