Robert D. Schreiber, PhD is the Andrew M. and Jane M. Bursky Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He is also the Founding Director of the Bursky Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs, Co-Leader of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center at Washington University, an Extramural Member Researcher of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, an Associate Director of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Cancer Research Institute, and a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors to the National Cancer Institute. He is co-Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Immunology Research. Schreiber is a co-founder of three biotech companies: Jounce Therapeutics (Boston MA), Neon Therapeutics, Inc (now BioNTec USA (Cambridge MA) and Asher Biotherapeutics (So. San Francisco CA) and a member of Scientific Advisory Boards for A2 Biotherapeutics, Arch Oncology, BioLegend, Codiak Biosciences, GlaxoSmithKline, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Sensei Biotherapeutics, Ludwig Institute, and the Osteosarcoma Institute.
Schreiber earned his B.A. degree in Chemistry from State University of New York at Buffalo and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Immunology from the same institution in 1973. He received his postdoctoral training in immunology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California and was then appointed to the Scripps faculty where he rose to the rank of Tenured Associate Member. Schreiber was recruited to Washington University in St. Louis 1985 as Professor of Pathology.
For the last 42 years, Schreiber’s research has focused on interferon-gamma biology, IFN-gamma receptor signaling and elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying natural and therapeutically induced immune responses to developing and established cancers. At a time when the field had dismissed the possibility that immunity participated in cancer formation and control, Schreiber’s group unequivocally demonstrated that the immune system not only protects the host against cancer but also favors cancer outgrowth by shaping tumor cell immunogenicity—a process they named “Cancer Immunoediting”. His team then went on to provide strong evidence supporting each of the three phases of the cancer immunoediting process—Elimination, Equilibrium and Escape. Schreiber’s group also produced the first STAT1-/-, JAK1-/- and NIK-/- mice and used them to develop mouse cancer models including a spontaneous mouse model of human luminal breast cancer. In the course of Schreiber’s career, his lab has generated a number of key monoclonal antibody reagents that neutralize cytokines or block cytokine receptors and validated their use in vivo to assess the role of cytokines in preventing or inducing diseases particularly cancer.
Schreiber and his group subsequently pioneered an immunogenomics approach to rapidly identify immunogenic tumor specific Class I and Class II restricted neoantigens in mouse tumors and target them therapeutically. This work formed the underpinnings of personalized cancer neoantigen vaccine immunotherapy clinical trials now being performed in several institutions. More recently Schreiber has used high dimensional profiling approaches to explore the molecular, cellular, and spatial changes that occur during successful cancer immunotherapy and has identified novel biomarkers that accurately predict responses.
Schreiber has authored more than 300 peer reviewed and invited publications and has received many honors for his work including, among others, the 2001 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology (Cancer Research Institute), the 2007 Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research (Brupbacher Foundation); the 2014 AACR-Cancer Research institute Lloyd Old Award in Cancer Immunology; the 2017 Balzan Award (International Balzan Prize Foundation); and the 2023 SITC Richard V. Smalley Memorial Award and Lectureship. Schreiber is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy; Distinguished Fellow of the American Association of Immunologists (Class of 2019); and Fellow of the Academy of Immuno-Oncology (Class of 2021).