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Broad Institute cofounder Stuart Schreiber steps back

The Broad Institute in Cambridge.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Stuart L. Schreiber, one of the four founding members of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, is scaling back his work at the renowned biomedical research center in Cambridge.

Schreiber, a Harvard professor known for his role in the development of the field of chemical biology, is “transitioning his status to founding core institute member emeritus as he enters the next phase of his career,” David Cameron, a Broad spokesman, confirmed Thursday. He had no further details.

Dr. Todd Golub, the director of the nonprofit Broad and one of the other founding members, announced Schreiber’s change in status at a meeting attended by about 200 staffers Wednesday afternoon. The meeting, which was also held online, dealt with a broad range of topics.

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The institute’s website has been updated to reflect Schreiber’s revised title.

Schreiber, 67, who has run a lab at the Broad, did not return e-mails seeking comment.

He was the founding director in 1997 of Harvard’s Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology, which provided the origins of the Broad’s Chemical Biology Program, according to the Broad’s website. He has been particularly interested in discovering novel drugs and is known for his work on so-called small molecules. Such compounds make up 90 percent of the pharmaceutical market but have garnered less attention from biotechs in recent years than “biologics,” medicines that are manufactured or extracted from living organisms and consist of genetic materials or proteins.

The other founding members of the Broad include Eric Lander, who served as president and founding director until 2021 when he left to become President Biden’s top science adviser; Lander resigned seven months into his new job after the White House confirmed that an internal investigation found credible evidence that he mistreated his staff. He subsequently returned to the Broad.

The other founding member is Dr. David Altshuler, who left to join Vertex as chief scientific officer in 2015 and also serves as executive vice president of global research at the Boston-based drug firm.

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The institute was founded 19 years ago by the philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, who poured more than $1 billion into it. The center’s original mission was to use insights from the Human Genome Project to advance the treatment of diseases.

It has since become one of the best-known biomedical research institutes in the world. The Broad has pursued far-ranging work, from acquiring samples of every drug ever developed to see if they can be used to treat diseases besides those for which they were intended, to helping determine how many COVID-19 cases were traceable to a Biogen conference at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf hotel in February 2020.


Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jonathan.saltzman@globe.com.