Professor Manfred Schwab is the Head of the Division of Tumor Genetics at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany. He holds academic affiliations with the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg and with the Biology Faculty of the University of Kaiserslautern. His current research interest is in translational aspects of the biology and genetics of neuroblastoma and in the contribution of genes at “common fragile sites” to genetic instability and cancer.
Manfred Schwab received his PhD from the University of Giessen, Germany, where he also concluded his Habilitation, the formal entrance point for becoming a Professor. Subsequently, he was awarded a 5-year Heisenberg fellowship by the German Research Council (DFG) that allowed him to perform scientific work in any international laboratory. He choose to join the laboratory of Mike Bishop and Harold Varmus in San Francisco where, using chicken models, genes causing cellular transformation (“oncogenes”) had just been identified. There, in 1985, he was appointed “Assistant Professor”. In 1987, he joined the German Cancer Research Center, where he has worked since. In 1992, he received the „Deutscher Krebspreis” (National Cancer Award), and in 1998 the Gerhard Domagk Award.
Throughout his scientific career Manfred Schwab has been interested in and actively contributed to tumor genetics, continuously trying to follow original avenues. His initial work focused on a genetic melanoma model in fish, where he worked out the role of genetic factors in tumor susceptibility, predominantly for melanoma. This work also uncovered a genetic susceptibility for neuroblastoma, published in 1978 in the international journal “Cancer Research”. Working in San Francisco, Manfred Schwab turned to human neuroblastoma, the most frequent extracranial cancer in young children. His most significant personal scientific contributions include
*first establishment and use of parallel (array) analysis for mRNA expression profiling (Schwab et al. (1983) Nature 303, 497-501
*discovery of the MYCN-gene and its amplification in neuroblastomas using mRNA expression profiling (Schwab et al. (1983) Nature 305:245-248)
*work out MYCN-transforming functions (Schwab et al. (1985) Nature 316, 160-162)
*localization of amplified MYCN to previously enigmatic abnormal chromosomal structures specific to tumor cells (Schwab et al. (1984) Nature 308, 288-291)
Amplified MYCN was the very first identified oncogenetic biomarker, now in clinical use worldwide for personalized therapy design of neuroblastoma (Schwab et al. (2003) Lancet Oncology 4:472-480).
Manfred Schwab has been a Member, or Chairperson, of numerous national and international grant review and award committees. Throughout his scientific career he has received major science grants. He has been the Coordinator (together with A. Eggert) of Research Network “Systems Biology of Embryonal Tumors: Neuroblastoma as a Model” within National Genome Research Network (NGFN-2), funded by Federal Ministry of Research and Technology, and is now Coordinator (with A. Eggert) of Research Network “ENGINE” Extended Neuroblastoma Genome Interaction NEtwork (ENGINE): Further Steps Towards Personalized Medicine” within NGFN-plus.
Manfred Schwab is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal “Cancer Letters” (IF 3.75).
Manfred Schwab is married to Christel Schwab. They have 3 children, Felix (PhD in Physics), Philipp (Doctor of Philosophy), and Charlotte (studying Medicine).