Recorded: 31 May 2003
He runs a very, very complex and productive organization. I like his style because it’s obvious that he has a lot of faith in the other people. And that he is sort of like—it seems like, and this is just my perception, I can’t be inside of his mind, but it looks to me that he’s basically decided, well, I can’t keep track of everything that’s going on in here and it’s a lot of good stuff. So I’ll try to get good people and give them a nice environment and it will prosper. And it seems to be.
Jim Kent is a research scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz's Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering. After a stint working in the computer animation industry, he entered the Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Ph.D. program at Santa Cruz. While completing his degree, he became increasingly interested in bioinformatics. Concurrently, the human genome was being sequenced, accumulating in the databases and was scheduled to be released in one month’s time—however, still no technology was in place to assemble its many sequences. In one month, Jim Kent created a computer program called the GigAssembler and computationally compiled for the first time, the entire human genome so that it could be released to the public at its intended deadline.
Jim Kent focuses on understanding the way in which genes are turned on and off to create varying outcomes.