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Richard Hynes

Department of Medicine


R O Hynes is the Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at the Koch Institute and Department of Biology at MIT, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute.  He was formerly Associate Head and then Head of the Biology department and was Director of the MIT Center for Cancer Research (now the Koch Institute) for 10 years.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) of London and a Member of the US National Academies of Sciences and Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the AACR Academy. Dr. Hynes did his undergraduate work in Biochemistry at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, and his PhD in Biology at MIT on the segregation of maternal mRNAs in early sea urchin embryos.  He then returned to the UK as a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London.  By investigating the molecular changes on cell surfaces that distinguish cancer cells from normal cells, he discovered fibronectin, a cell adhesion protein present on normal cells but noticeably absent on cancer cells. Dr. Hynes' work over the past 40 years has played a major role in establishing the molecular basis of cell adhesion and its many diverse and important effects on cells both in vitro and in vivo.  This molecular understanding has formed the basis for development of antibodies and drugs that modulate cell adhesion and are in clinical use against thrombosis, inflammation and autoimmune diseases and under investigation for efficacy against cancers.  Molecular understanding of cell-ECM interactions is also being exploited in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Dr. Hynes' awards include the Gairdner International Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Pasarow Award and the E.B. Wilson medal of the American Society for Cell Biology, in recognition of his research on extracellular matrix, integrins and cell adhesion.  He has served as President of the American Society for Cell Biology, chaired the NAS committees that established Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and currently the NAS/NAM Committee on Human Genome Editing.  He is a Governor of the Wellcome Trust, UK.

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