Roediger, Schreiber to receive faculty achievement awards

Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger III, Ph.D., an internationally recognized scholar of human memory, and Robert D. Schreiber, Ph.D., a pioneer in efforts to understand how the immune system may be useful in battling cancer, will receive Washington University’s 2008 faculty achievement awards, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced.

Roediger, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, is the winner of the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award, and Schreiber, the Alumni Professor of Pathology and Immunology in the School of Medicine, is the winner of the Carl and Gerty Cori Faculty Achievement Award.

They will receive their awards, which include a $5,000 honorarium, and give presentations of their scholarly work during a ceremony to be held on campus in December.

“Professors Roediger and Schreiber represent the very best qualities of Washington University faculty,” Wrighton said. “Through their internationally recognized research, both have improved our understanding of the complexities of the human mind and body.

“I am grateful for their many individual contributions to their fields, and I applaud each of them on receiving this important accolade from their peers,” Wrighton said.

Henry L. Roediger III

Roediger joined WUSTL in 1996 as chair of the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences, a position he held until 2004, when he was named dean of academic planning in Arts & Sciences.


Roediger attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in 1969. He earned a doctorate in cognitive psychology in 1973 from Yale University and began his career as an assistant professor at Purdue University.

He spent 15 years at Purdue and as a visiting professor at the University of Toronto before becoming the Lynette S. Autrey professor of psychology at Rice University in Houston in 1988.

Roediger is an experimental cognitive psychologist whose research is concerned with human learning and memory. He has published more than 200 articles, chapters and reviews and has written or edited 11 books. Three are textbooks that have been through a combined 20 editions.

Roediger is well known for his early research on implicit or indirect uses of memory, in which retained information is expressed in a relatively automatic manner, often without awareness.

His research since coming to WUSTL has focused on two issues: how people can suffer memory illusions and false memories and, most recently, applying basic knowledge of memory processes to improve educational performance.

His research has been funded by a variety of federal agencies and private foundations, including the National Institutes of Health, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, the Institute of Education Science and the National Science Foundation. He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Roediger’s teaching ranges from undergraduate courses on introductory psychology, human learning and memory to seminars on memory (and on professional issues) for graduate students.

In 2006, he taught a freshman Focus course titled “Cognitive Illusions: Understanding Distortions in Perceiving, Remembering, and Thinking.” His laboratory includes a collaborative mix of undergraduates, graduate students, research assistants and postdoctoral fellows.

Roediger has served as president or chief executive officer of the American Psychological Society, the Experimental Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association, the Midwestern Psychological Association, the Psychonomic Society and the Society of Experimental Psychologists.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and several psychology associations. He has edited two major psychology journals and currently serves on the editorial board of 10 journals.

In 2008, the Society of Experimental Psychologists awarded Roediger its highest honor, the Howard Crosby Warren Medal, in recognition of “his creative experimental investigations of false memory and its underlying processes that have led to a new understanding of human memory.”

Robert D. Schreiber

Schreiber was born in Rochester, N.Y., and earned a doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1973. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Research Institute of the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., he was appointed to the faculty, ultimately becoming a tenured associate member. He was recruited to WUSTL in 1985. Since 1998, he has been the program leader for tumor immunology at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center.


At the beginning of his research career, Schreiber was focused on cell signaling in the immune system. But the results his lab was producing pushed his interest into another related area: the immune system’s relationship to cancer.

Based on his data, Schreiber revived a century-old model for this relationship that suggested the immune system could recognize cancers and actively work to destroy them.

His proposal was greeted with fierce resistance, but Schreiber’s new model, called cancer immunoediting, has since been reaffirmed by many additional papers and won widespread acceptance. Cancer immunoediting has revealed that the immune system is not only capable of destroying cancers, but also can drive them into a dormant state or, in some cases, enhance their malignance.

The research has had far-reaching effects on clinical efforts to enlist the immune system’s help in the battle against cancer. Schreiber’s insight that the immune system can drive cancers into dormancy, for example, has suggested that immune therapy may one day allow cancer to become a chronic but controllable condition.

In 2007, Schreiber and two colleagues who helped establish cancer immunoediting were named as co-recipients of the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research, one of cancer research’s most prestigious awards.

Schreiber’s citation says that his research “has … contributed critical conceptual and practical support to the fields of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy.”

Together with Emil Unanue, M.D., Schreiber created the School of Medicine’s Immunology Graduate Program and led it for a decade. He has served in leadership roles for many international organizations and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Additional honors include the Cancer Research Institute’s Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Tumor Immunology, the Marie T. Bonazinga Award for Excellence in Leukocyte Biology Research and, in 2008, the School of Medicine’s Distinguished Investigator Award.