B.S., Ph.D., University of Southampton (England)
Andrew "Drew" WebbProfessor Emeritus of Biological Sciences
Developing bionanotechnology anti-cancer reagents, biotech patent litigation expert.
I joined the Wellesley faculty as a developmental biologist, but over the years both my research interests and teaching responsibilities have turned more to molecular genetics and the control of gene expression especially as it pertains to the etiology of human disease. In the early 1980s, in collaboration with investigators at MIT and New England Medical Center, my Wellesley lab was the first to molecularly clone the gene for interleukin-1 (IL-1), a pivotal player in the immune and acute phase responses to infection and disease. In subsequent years, with colleagues at Yale Medical School, we were instrumental in characterizing the genetic mechanism of hypercalcaemia of malignancy driven by a tumor-derived parathyroid hormone mimic. Later, my students isolated and characterized the gene for a novel inhibitor of plasminogen activator known now as PAI-2, which is one of many regulators of blood clotting and cancer cell metastasis. Over the years, these studies have resulted in the issuance of a dozen U.S. patents held and licensed by Wellesley College.
I have studied the use of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) as targeted therapeutic and diagnostic agents in cancer. This work has provided the opportunity for an exciting collaborative bio-nanotechnology project with members of the Wellesley Chemistry Department (professors Kolodny and Flynn). Our students are involved in the development of gold-iron nanoparticles (NP) conjugated with a mAb to specifically target pancreatic cancer cells with anti-tumor therapeutics loaded onto the NP. The iron core allows us to visualize the NPs in vivo by magnetic resonance imaging. In the Department of Biological Sciences, I currently teach intermediate level genetics in the fall and a senior-level seminar in cancer genomics in the spring semester. The latter course investigates the impact of biotechnology on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and includes talks by leading cancer researchers in the Boston area as well as alumnae.
In addition to my rewarding work with Wellesley research students, I provide consulting services and in-court testimony on behalf of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies involved in patent litigation.
My extracurricular activities include sailing, squash, and driving and repairing high performance cars. Leisure time is devoted to keeping two Great Danes happy and exercised as well as ballroom dancing with my wife, Tania Lingos ’76, a radiation oncologist.