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Stuart L. Schreiber Biography

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Brief Personal History

Stuart L. Schreiber, Ph.D. is the Director of Chemical Biology at and a Founding Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, where he is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He is also the Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (1995).

Dr. Schreiber was born February 6, 1956 and raised in Virginia by his parents Colonel Thomas and Gerrie Schreiber. He married Mimi Packman on August 9, 1981. After receiving his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia in June of 1977, he performed graduate studies at Harvard University under the supervision of R. B. Woodward and Yoshito Kishi. Following completion of his doctoral studies, he joined the faculty at Yale University in May of 1981. At age 28, he was promoted with tenure to Associate Professor in 1984 and Full Professor in 1986. In 1988, he returned to Harvard. In addition to his affiliations above, he is an associate member of the Harvard Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and a member of the Graduate Programs in Biophysics and Immunology at Harvard University. In 1997, he founded and co-directed the Harvard Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology, which in 2003 merged with MIT's Center for Genome Research as part of the founding of the Broad Institute.

Science and technology. Dr. Schreiber is known for having developed systematic ways to explore biology, especially disease biology, using small molecules and for his role in the development of the field of chemical biology. He discovered principles that underlie information transfer and storage in cells, specifically discoveries relating to signaling by the phosphatase calcineurin and kinase mTOR (demonstrating for the first time that drugs can result from the targeting of protein kinases and protein phosphatases), gene regulation by chromatin-modifying histone deacetylases, small-molecule dimerizers that activate cellular processes by enforced proximity, and small-molecule probes of extremely difficult targets and processes (e.g., transcription factors, oncogenes, protein/protein interactions, transdifferentiation) that directly relate to human disease. His work has contributed to diversity-oriented synthesis (DOS) and discovery-based small-molecule screening in an open data-sharing environment, and it resulted in the development of the first public small-molecule screening database named ChemBank. His research has been reported in over 460 publications (H index = 116).

Society and human health. Four new anti-cancer drugs that target proteins discovered in the Schreiber laboratory using his small-molecule approach have been approved by the U.S. FDA: torisel (Wyeth) and afinitor (Novartis; both for renal cancer), which target mTOR (discovered using rapamycin in 1994) and vorinostat (Merck; for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma; CTCL) and romidepsin (Celgene; for CTCL), which targets HDACs (HDAC1 discovered using trapoxin in 1996). Human clinical trials are underway using a small-molecule dimerizer-based drug (AP1903) to regulate vaccine therapy for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. In addition, proteins first shown by Schreiber to be targeted by a small molecule have been validated therapeutically by the FDA-approval process: tacrolimus (calcineurin/immunosuppression/1994; Schreiber's study of FK506) and bortezomib (proteasome/multiple myeloma/2003; Schreiber's study of lactacystin), and the pharmaceutical industry has now invested over $200MM in DOS as a new means to discover drugs. Schreiber also extended chemical biology principles to medicine by participating in the founding of four biopharmaceutical companies with a combined market cap of over $10B, each of which has devised new therapeutic agents that are being tested in human clinical trials or used as FDA-approved drugs: Vertex Pharmaceuticals (founded 1989: lexiva/telzir; telaprevir), ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (founded 1991: ponatinib), ARIAD Gene Therapeutics (founded 1994: ridaforolimis), and Infinity Pharmaceuticals (founded 2001: retaspimycin). More recently, he has co-founded two additional currently private companies that pursue a chemical biology-based approach to drug discovery: Forma Therapeutics and H3 Biomedicines.

To learn more about these studies:


  1. Director, Chemical Biology Program (formerly ICCB), and Founding Core Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT (2003-); Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1994-); Harvard University Morris Loeb Professor (1998-) in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology (CCB; 1988-).

  2. Harvard University: CCB Department Chair (2001-04); Founder & Director of Harvard’s ICCB (1997-2004); Founder & Scientific Co-Director, Center for Genomics Research (1998-2003; now FAS Systems Biology); Associate Member, Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology (1994-); Affiliate, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School (1994-2004); Member, Graduate Programs in Biophysics and Immunology (1988-).

  3. Yale University, Department of Chemistry: Professor (1986-88); Associate Professor (1984-86; tenure in 1984); Assistant Professor (1981-84).

  4. Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, Harvard University (1981); B.A., Chemistry, University of Virginia (1977).

  5. Founder, Forma Therapeutics (2008-); Founder, Co-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, Infinity Pharmaceuticals (2002-06); Founder and Chair of the Board of Scientific & Medical Advisers, ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (1991-2009); Founder, ARIAD Gene Therapeutics (1994-2008); Founder and Scientific Advisory Board Member, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (1988-90); Adviser: Eisai (2008-); Theravance, (2000-04); Pfizer, (1983-91).


Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry (with research advisors R. B. Woodward and Y. Kishi), April 1981, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

B.A. in Chemistry (with research advisor R. J. Sundberg), June 1977, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. (High school diploma, Oakton High School, Virginia, 1970-73.)

Project Administration (after 2000)

Director, Initiative for Chemical Genetics (2001-2010)

Director, Broad Institute Center of Excellence in Chemical Methodology and Library Development (CMLD) (2002-)

Director, Broad Institute Cancer Target Discovery and Development (CTD2) Center (2009-)

Steering Committee Chair (2009-10), Cancer Target Discovery and Development (CTD2) Network

Director, Broad Institute Probe Development Center (BIPDeC)

Steering Committee Chair (2010), Molecular Libraries Initiative Probe Development Centers Network (MLPCN)


  • Three instances that comprise a concerted effort to rethink classroom teaching in the life sciences at Harvard ("trilogy") have been implemented:

    • 1990s: Creation of a new course in organic chemistry for undergraduate students with interest in life science. Harvard Chem 27, “Organic Chemistry of Life” (taught to ~200 undergraduate students/year beginning 1991) was organized using an unusual "top-down" approach, beginning with information transfer in cells as it relates to AIDS and cancer and ending with the organic chemistry principles that underlie these processes. As no standard organic chemistry text exists that takes this approach, a complete text for the course was developed and distributed to students freely.

    • 2000s: Creation of a new course in natural/life science for undergraduate "concentrators" in the humanities and social sciences. Harvard B47 Core Course, with Jon Clardy, "Molecules of Life" (taught to ~150 undergraduate students/year, 2004-2007) was organized around the principles that underlie macromolecules and small molecules of life and their interactions with the human genome, especially in relation to human behavior, physiology and disease, and to the ethical, legal and social issues that impact society. As no text exists that takes this approach, many course materials were developed and distributed to students freely.

    • 2008-current: Creation of a new course "Organic Synthesis Towards a Genomic Medicine" exploring the role of modern chemistry, especially modern synthetic organic chemistry, and chemical biology in human biology and genomic medicine, for undergraduate and graduate students at Harvard. In 2009, Chem 201 received a student (Q Guide) rating of 4.6/5.0 for the course and 4.9/5.0 for the instructor.
  • For High School students, developed and presented with Eric S. Lander, the 2002 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Lectures on Science: "Scanning Life’s Matrix: Genes, Proteins and Small Molecules" (taught to High School Students in the Washington D.C. area). The resulting DVD has been distributed to over 100,000 high school teachers worldwide and the four-class series or vignettes derived from them have appeared, for example, on ABC News, PBS and the Science Channel.

  • 1998 Thomas T. Hoopes Prize with Abhinav Seth for Senior Thesis entitled "Development of a Calcineurin-Mediated Dimerization System"; 2000 Thomas T. Hoopes Prize with Ben Edelson for Senior Thesis entitled "Diversity-Oriented Organic Synthesis"; 2006 Thomas T. Hoopes Prize with Philip Dreyfuss for Senior Thesis entitled “Exploring Chemical Diversity Through Silyl Functionalized Small Molecules"; 2008 Thomas T. Hoopes Prize with Brandon Imber for Senior Thesis entitled "Rational Design, Chemical Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of a Small-Molecule Library Targeting Histone Demethylases".

Service and Scientific Publishing

  • Founded the first chemical biology journal Chemistry & Biology, 1994.
  • Trustee of The Rockefeller University, 1999-2004 (and member of Committee on Scientific Affairs).
  • Massachusetts General Hospital Scientific Advisory Committee, 1997-2000.
  • Board of Scientific Consultants, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1993-2003.
  • Science and Technology Planning Committee, Harvard University, 2003-2005.
  • Scientific Advisory Committee, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, 1998-2002.
  • Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute & Member of the National Cancer Institute Committee on Developmental Therapeutics, 1996-99. Re-appointed to the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute, 2008-2012.
  • Committee on Developmental Therapeutics, 1996-99. Re-appointed to the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute, 208-2012.
  • Visiting Committee for Chemistry and Structural Biology, Rockefeller University, 1992-95.
  • Medicinal Chemistry A Study Section, NIH, 1985, 1987 (ad hoc); 1988-92 (permanent).
  • Advisory Board, Tables Rondes Roussel Uclaf.
  • Founding Editor, Chemistry & Biology (2005-); Founder and Co-Editor: Chemistry & Biology (1993-2004).
  • Head of Faculty, Chemical Biology, Faculty of 1000 (2001-).
  • Board of Consulting Editors: Tetrahedron Publications (1983- ).
  • Member of the Editorial Board or Advisory Editor of: The Scientist, 2005-08; the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, U.S.A., 1995-98; Current Biology; Topics in Stereochemistry, 2004-2009; Comprehensive Organic Synthesis; Current Opinion in Chemical Biology; Nature Chemical Biology; ACS Chemical Biology; ChemBioChem; Synthesis Letters; Journal of Organic Chemistry; Journal of Medicinal Chemistry; Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters; Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry.

Academes and Societies

  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 1995.
  • Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1995.
  • Member of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), American Society for Microbiology (ASM), American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), Organic and Biological Divisions of The American Chemical Society (ACS), Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Clinical Immunology Society, Protein Society, and American Association for Cancer Research.

Honors and Awards

Dr. Schreiber has received a number of honors and awards, including:

  • The Dreyfus Newly Appointed Faculty Award, 1981;
  • Searle Scholar, 1982;
  • Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 1985;
  • Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 1985;
  • NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1985;
  • Astra-Zeneca Award for Excellence in Chemistry, 1986;
  • ICI Pharmaceuticals Award for Excellence in Chemistry, 1986;
  • Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, American Chemical Society (ACS), 1986;
  • Award in Pure Chemistry, ACS, 1989;
  • Arun Guthikonda, Columbia University, 1990;
  • Ciba-Geigy/Drew Award for Biomedical Research: Molecular Basis for Immune Regulation, 1992;
  • Thieme-IUPAC Award in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, 1992;
  • NIH Merit Award, 1992;
  • Rhone-Poulenc Silver Medal, Royal Society of Chemistry, 1992;
  • Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, ACS, 1993;
  • Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award, North Jersey Section of ACS, 1993;
  • Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Chemistry, ACS, 1994;
  • Paul Karrer Gold Medal, University of Zurich, 1994;
  • Harrison Howe Award, Rochester Section of ACS, 1995;
  • Warren Triennial Prize (with Leland Hartwell), Massachusetts General Hospital, 1995;
  • George Ledlie Biennial Prize, Harvard University, 1995;
  • DuPont Merck Young Investigator Award of the Protein Society, 1995;
  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 1995;
  • Harvey Society Lecture, 1996;
  • Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry, 1997;
  • Thomas T. Hoopes Prize, 1998, 2000, 2006, 2008;
  • Derek Barton Medal, 1999;
  • National Cancer Institute Director's Service Award, 1999;
  • Alfred Bader Award in Bioorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry, ACS, 2000;
  • Emmanuel Merck Award, 2000;
  • Donald T. Reynolds Foundation Cardiology Scholar, 2000;
  • William H. Nichols Medal, 2001;
  • Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award, American Academy of Microbiology, 2001;
  • Holiday Lectures on Science, 2002;
  • NIH Director's recognition of ChemBank, 2003;
  • Society for Biomolecular Screening Achievement Award, 2004;
  • Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) Distinguished Scientist Award, 2004;
  • Academic Scientist of the Year, Finalist for the 2005 Pharmaceutical Achievement Awards, 2005;
  • Thomson Laureate Award: Chemistry, 2006 (with Gerald R. Crabtree);
  • U.S. Cancer Foundation Award of Distinguished Scientist, 2007;
  • Charles Butcher Award in Genomics and Biotechnology, 2007;
  • Wheland Medal, University of Chicago, 2010;
  • AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research, 2010.

Selected Lectures

Dr. Schreiber has presented over 500 invited lectures during 1981-2010, including the following lectureships:

  • Merck-Frosst Lecturer, Ottawa-Carleton Institute, Ottawa, Canada, 1987.
  • The Greater Manchester Lectureship in Organic Chemistry (3 lectures), England, 1988.
  • BASF Lecturer, University of Michigan, Michigan, 1988.
  • Procter & Gamble Lectures (2 lectures), MIT, Cambridge, 1988.
  • Roche Lecturer, Hoffmann-La Roche, Basel, Switzerland, 1988.
  • Research Scholar Lecturer, Drew University, New Jersey, 1988.
  • UNC-Glaxo Lecturer, UNC, North Carolina, 1989.
  • UC Berkeley-Glaxo Lecturer, California, 1990.
  • Syntex Lecturer, Colorado State University, Colorado, 1990.
  • Merck Lectureship (3 lectures), Cambridge, England, 1990.
  • Monsanto Lectures, Missouri, 1990.
  • Arun Guthikonda Memorial Award Lecture, Columbia University, New York, 1990.
  • Irving Sigal Memorial Lecture, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Pennsylvania, 1992.
  • Abbott Lecture, UC San Diego-Scripps Research Institute, California, 1992.
  • Werner E. Backman Memorial Lectures (2 lectures), University of Michigan, Michigan, 1992.
  • Institute Lecturer, Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, 1992.
  • Rhone-Poulenc Lecture, Royal Chemical Society, Cambridge, England, 1993.
  • Bayer AG Lecture in Pharmacology, Yale School of Medicine, Connecticut, 1993.
  • Organic Syntheses Lecturer (2 lectures), University of California at Irvine, California, 1993.
  • Edward G. Rietz Lecture, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1993.
  • William H. Stein Memorial Lecture, The Rockefeller University, New York, 1993.
  • Novum Lecture, Karolinska Institute, Novum, Huddinge, Sweden, 1993.
  • K. F. Meyer Lecture, University of California, San Francisco, Department of Microbiology, California, 1994.
  • Merck Lectures (2 lectures), McGill and Merck Frosst, Montreal, Canada, 1994.
  • 5th Annual Jacob Bigeleisen Lecture, Stony Brook Center for Biotechnology, New York, 1994.
  • The 198th Lilly Lecture, Lilly Research Laboratories, Indiana, 1994.
  • University of Zurich Paul Kerrer Gold Medal Award Lecture, Switzerland, 1994.
  • DeWitt Stetten, Jr. Lecture, National Institutes of Health, Maryland, 1994.
  • University Lecture, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas, 1994.
  • Marvel Lectures (3 lectures), University of Illinois, Urbana Champagne, Illinois, 1994.
  • Calbiochem Lectures (3 lectures), University of California at San Diego, California, 1995.
  • V Ernst Memorial Lecture, Brandeis, Massachusetts, 1995.
  • University of North Carolina-Burroughs Wellcome Lecturer (2 Lecures), North Carolina, 1995.
  • Kharasch Lectures (3 lectures), University of Chicago, Illinois, 1995.
  • Dauben Lecturer (2 lectures), University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 1996.
  • Harvey Lecture, The Harvey Society, Rockefeller University, New York, 1996.
  • Ralph I. Dorfman Lecture, Stanford University, California, 1996.
  • Karolinska Institute Nobel Forum Lecture, Stockholm, Sweden, 1996.
  • The Troy C. Daniels Lectureship (3 lectures), University of California, San Francisco, California, 1996.
  • Second Lectureship Award with Princeton University, Wyeth-Ayerst Research, New Jersey, 1996.
  • T. Y. Shen Distinguished Lecturer in Biological Chemistry (2 lectures), MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1996.
  • The Frederic J. Robbins Lecture (4 lectures), Pomona College, California, 1997.
  • Ciba Lectureship, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, 1997.
  • Bergmann Lecture, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1997.
  • Derome Memorial Lectures (3 lectures), University of Oxford, England, 1997.
  • UCLA/Amgen Lecturer (2 lectures), UCLA and Amgen, 1997.
  • The Emily F. DiMaggio Lecture, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, 1998.
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Scripps Research Institute, California, 1998.
  • Sir Derek Barton Lecture, Texas A & M, Texas, 1999.
  • Rockefeller University Lecture, Rockefeller University, New York, 1999.
  • Emmanuel Merck Lectureship (3 lectures), Darmstadt, Germany, 2000.
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Lectureship sponsored by "Till Bršderna Jacob och Marcus Wallenbergs minne" Stockholm, Sweden, 2000.
  • Jack Fox Lectureship, The Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, New York, 2000.
  • Richard Furlaud Lecture, Rockefeller University, New York, 2001.
  • Charles E. Dohme Lectureship, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, 2001.
  • Holiday Science Lectures (delivered to high school students and recorded on DVD for distribution to high schools nationwide), HHMI, 2002.
  • Beckman Lecture, Cal Tech, May 2003.
  • Teru Hayashi Lecture, MBL, Woods Hole, July 2003.
  • WALS Lecture, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, June, 2005.
  • Lundbeck Lecturer, Stockholm and Copenhagen, May, 2006.
  • First Achaogen Lecture, University of Montreal, Montreal, 2007.
  • Herman Beerman Lecture, Society for Investigative Dermatology, Los Angeles, California, 2007.
  • Charles Butcher Award Lecture in Genomics and Biotechnology, University of Colorado, 2007.
  • Presidential Lecture, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, 2008.
  • Mary Sue & Kenneth Coleman Life Sciences Lecturer, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Michigan, 2008.
  • 8th Schwartz Lecture at Mount Sinai, New York, 2008.
  • Chiron Lecturer (2 lectures), UC Berkeley, California, 2009.
  • Madeleine Jouillie Lecturer (2 lectures), University of Pennsylvania and Wyeth, Pennsylvania, 2009.
  • Isis Pharmaceuticals Lecture, UC Irvine, California, 2010.
  • Fred Sherman Lecture, Rochester University, New York, 2010.
  • Discovery Lecture, Department of Dermatology, Yale University School of Medicine, Connecticut, 2010.
  • Wheland Award Lecture, University of Chicago, 2010.


A complete listing of Dr. Schreiber's research publications can be found here.