His area of expertise didn't exist when he was a young Jayhawk. But a KU education helped prepare Dr. Richard M. Weinshilboum for a career spent "racing to the starting line" as a forerunner of pharmacogenomics -- the study of how drugs respond to DNA.
During the nearly 50 years of his career, the field has gone from theoretical to practical. Today, treatments can adjust to a patient's genetics to increase efficacy or avoid life-threatening side effects, a practice known as "precision" or "individualized" medicine, which Weinshilboum helped pioneer.
Weinshilboum earned his B.A. and M.D. from the University of Kansas, concluding in 1967. He completed his residency at Harvard University's Massachusetts General Hospital, and then was a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institutes of Health in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Julius Axelrod.
In 1972, Weinshilboum joined the staff of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic. His work there has earned him continual support from the NIH, as well as a number of honors from scientific societies, international organizations and universities.
Weinshilboum is the director of pharmacogenomics and chair of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. He is also the Mayo Clinic's Mary Lou and John H. Dasburg Professor of Cancer Genomics.