Harlan Robins is an associate member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Robins obtained his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University (1995) as a physics major with a concentration in mathematics. He then obtained his Masters and Ph.D. in theoretical physics (string theory) from the University of California Berkeley with a visiting appointment to the California Institute of Technology (“CalTech”). Interested in the mathematics behind genetics and observing the potential utility of high-level mathematics to study problems in the biological sciences, Dr. Robins took a postdoctoral appointment at the Institute for Advance Study at Princeton University in 2002 to study under the famed biologist Dr. Arnold Levine. Working with Dr. Levine at Princeton, Dr. Robins concentrated on developing bioinformatic algorithms for messenger RNA targets and bacterial genome analysis, a precursor to his current faculty appointment (2006) at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the Computational Biology Group, Public Health Sciences and Human Biology Divisions. He is presently an Associate Faculty Member. In August of 2009, Dr. Robins was the recipient of the Ellison Award from the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholars Program to support new investigators of outstanding promise in the basic biological sciences. In 2011, Dr. Robins received the million dollar Keck Medical Foundation Award study immunological memory.
In late 2009, Dr. Robins co-founded Adaptive Biotechnologies, which was spun out from Fred Hutchinson. The company was founded to commercialize a technology developed by Dr. Robins and colleagues at Fred Hutchinson between 2007 and 2009. Robins and colleagues created a method to measure the dynamics of the adaptive immune system at unprecedented resolution through the use of advances in high-throughput sequencing. Adaptive Biotechnologies currently offers the product ImmunoSeq and is developing clinical diagnostic applications.