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The one hundred honoree: Wilhelm Haas, PhD

Innovation Story

The one hundred honoree: Wilhelm Haas, PhD

Mass General Giving

Wilhelm Haas, PhD, is an expert in mass spectrometry-based proteomics, focused on the development of a key tool that will advance the diagnosis of cancer.

Born in Austria, Dr. Haas completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Graz, studying small molecule natural products while focusing on mass spectrometry. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Steven Gygi, PhD, at Harvard Medical School, he worked on new technologies enabling multiplexed quantitative proteomics. His lab at the Mass General Cancer Center employs these technologies to study various questions in cancer research, including the search for biomarkers and novel drug targets to improve personalized therapies for cancer.

The Haas Laboratory uses quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics to study the cellular pathways that characterize cancer cells in a comprehensive proteome-wide manner. This is fueled by recent discoveries that have enhanced the depth and throughput of proteomics in quantifying proteins and their post-translational modification. These improvements have brought researchers to a pivotal point in the field of mass spectrometry. For the first time, they can handle the analysis of the large number of samples that have to be examined to generate the basis for understanding a disease that displays the heterogeneity found in cancer.

Dr. Haas and his colleagues are applying these methods to expand the understanding of how the proteome is altered when resistance emerges in response to treatment in individual patients. They know that proteomics has the potential to diagnose cancer, predict its susceptibility and monitor its progression.