Recorded: 14 May 2004
Well the history of that was that my group was working on sequencing and was a large sequencing center by sequencing standards at that time. But before that the rest of the program was not much interested in actual sequencing. The rest of the program was interested in diseased gene discovery or mapping or YAC clones or cell biology. It’s when the whole program turned to sequencing that we were able to step up and say, well, we are ready now to do this part of the project.
There was a pilot (??) then. There was a pilot (??) that was asked who, in fact, was ready to do this kind of work. And it was a tough struggle. We were not favored at that time to be one of the major participating laboratories. And in a struggle for a place in this historic project with many other groups who gradually—the others fell by the way as through these cycles of review and these grant award cycles.
Richard A. Gibbs is currently the Director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and the Wofford Cain Professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Radiation Biology in 1985 at the University of Melbourne in Australia. In 1990 he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine, studying the molecular basis of human X-linked diseases and developing technologies for rapid genetic analysis. He developed several fundamental technologies for nucleic acid analysis. In 1991, he joined the BCM faculty and played a key role in the early planning and development phases of the Human Genome Project. In 1996, he established the BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center when Baylor was chosen as one of six programs to complete the final phase of the Human Genome Project. Dr. Gibbs has also made significant contributions to the deciphering of the fly, mouse, dictyostelium, and rat genomes. Among the numerous awards and honors received by Dr. Gibbs, he was awarded the Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Award in 2000.