Richard Weinshilboum, M.D., Director of the Pharmacogenomics Program at the Center for Individualized Medicine, is being honored by the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors as a Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni. This is the highest award that Mayo can confer on its staff.
Dr. Weinshilboum studies pharmacogenomics — the role of inheritance and individual variation in DNA sequence or structure in drug response. The goal is to develop safer and more effective drug therapy to treat diseases that range from cancer to depression.
Dr. Weinshilboum's research program utilizes genomic techniques that include genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and "next-generation" whole genome DNA sequencing using samples from large numbers of patients treated with a specific anticancer or antidepressant drug. Sophisticated cell-based functional genomic techniques are used to determine mechanisms responsible for variation in drug response phenotypes. This approach has already succeeded in the discovery and functional/mechanistic pursuit of novel, unanticipated genes that influence response to a series of drugs used to treat childhood leukemia and breast cancer.
Dr. Weinshilboum's research has been continuously funded for decades by the National Institutes of Health and other Foundation funding mechanisms.