The April 1 edition of The Scientist commends the progress made by Todd Golub ’85 in the field of cancer research. Golub and his colleagues have made powerful developments in scrutinizing gene expression profiles to diagnose, classify, and treat cancer. After completing an undergraduate degree at Carleton College in 1985 and an MD at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, Golub began working in cancer research at the Whitehead Institute at MIT. Within just two years, he and his colleague demonstrated that two types of acute leukemia, which clinicians had spent 30 years characterizing, could be classified based exclusively on their gene-expression patterns.
Five years later, Golub’s project has blossomed into the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute, a collaborative cancer genomics research center that engages in some of the field’s most ambitious projects. While these initiatives have brought much recognition and success to Golub, he recognizes that this was never a motivating factor. “I value bringing together a community of researchers and creating a culture of collaboration that can have more of an impact on our field than the accomplishment of an individual. I hope there is now a sustaining culture of scientists helping each other and keeping their eye on changing the world. That’s the goal. Being first author on a paper is not the goal. The goal is to change the world.”