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Barnett Rosenberg papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.289

Scope and Content

Barnett Rosenberg came to Michigan State University in 1961 as a founding faculty member the Biophysics Department. Rosenberg and his fellow researchers discovered cisplatin and carboplatin which were the first leading anti-cancer drugs. The collection documents the discovery of these two drugs and includes Rosenberg’s personal and business correspondence. The records of the Barros Research Institute, which further researched and developed anti-cancer drugs, are also included. In addition to the extensive files documenting cancer research, there were also files containing research on aging, medical uses of marijuana, hyperglycemia, and bioelectronics. This material will provide information to those studying the development of cancer drugs in general , and platinum based drugs specifically. Other research topics this material could support are biographies of Barnett Rosenberg and Loretta Van Camp, the history of biophysics at MSU, the history of bio-based patents at MSU, and the history and development of Rosenberg’s Barros Research Institute.


  • Creation: 1959 - 2009


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Parts of the collection are restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Barnett (Barney) Rosenberg was one of the leaders in the area of cancer research. His research into the nature of cancer and his breakthrough development of the platinum based anti-cancer drugs cisplatin and carboplatin (with Lab Supervisor Loretta Van Camp) is the foundation for the modern treatment of cancer.

Rosenberg was born and educated in New York City, earning his Ph.D. at New York University in 1955. He came to Michigan State University in 1961 and was a founding member of its Biophysics Department. While Rosenberg is most known for his research into developing platinum compounds to combat cancer, he had a wide array of contributing interests in biology, medicine, biochemistry, microwave studies, electromagnetism, and aging. Rosenberg and his research colleagues published hundreds of research papers and hold multiple patents in these areas.

In 1982, Rosenberg founded the Barros Research Institute (BRI), a private research facility in Holt, Michigan dedicated to researching his other areas of interest, not related to platinum compounds, and discovering new treatments for catastrophic diseases in humans. A primary research topic was an anti-tumor agent found the small intestine.

Rosenberg retired from Michigan State University in 1997 and in 2001, the Barnett Rosenberg Chair in Neuroscience was established. Rosenberg died August 8, 2009.


108 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into three major catagories: 1) Rosenberg's Papers, 2) Rosenberg's reference materials, and 3) the Barros Research Institute research and business records.

1) Rosenberg's papers contain his personal correspondence and office files. The files are organized topically, with further alpha-date organization according to Rosenberg's original filing scheme. The Papers are generally divided into the following series: research reports, laboratory work and notebooks, manuscripts, correspondence, research grants, patents, presentations, course materials, raw data, and topics of special interest.

2) The reference materials include a variety of manuscripts, published books and articles, and collected data used by Rosenberg to support his areas of interest.

3) The Barros Research Institute materials includes the collected research of its scientists, including clinical trial studies (some of this material is restricted for patient confidentiality). Attorney files and office/business files are also included.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University Property Rights: Michigan State University

Barnett Rosenberg Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
W. Miller
March, 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US