David Botstein on CSHL Courses
  David Botstein     Biography    
Recorded: 28 May 2003

The course was the ultimate continuation of the famous Luria and Delbrück course. We were just carrying out the end of the tradition. What made it different for us and the reason that we did it was because we introduced recombinant DNA methods into the curriculum. So we taught the first course at Cold Spring Harbor, maybe the first course anywhere that actually taught the recombinant DNA methods. We had, you know, special safety instruction from the NIH, and we had special rules and various other kinds of stuff like that. And we had all kinds of interest in bacterial genetics, which was thought to be dying at the time because of the recombinant DNA which certainly did revive interest in manipulating DNA in bacteria if anything did.

So the—it was one of those teaching things that everybody ought to do at some time. It’s a terrific venue because people are working day and night and they’re all here because they want to be here. There are no pre-meds. It’s really the science. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a wonderful tradition.

David Botstein is a prominent geneticist whose advocacy for gene mapping was crucial in laying the groundwork for the Human Genome Project. Botstein received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan for his research on bacteriophage synthesis. As a member of the MIT faculty he continued working with phage P22 DNA and discovered many bacterial and yeast genes. He served as Vice President of Science at Genentech before becoming professor at the Stanford School of Medicine where he led in sequencing the first large eucaryotic genome.

On July 1, 2003 he was appointed as Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University. At Princeton he will continue to expound upon genome projects, explore the relationship between genes within the genome, and uncover how diseases like cancer alter the expression of genes.

Botstein researched at the CSHL while on sabbatical from 1974-1975. At the 1986 CSHL symposium on Human Genetics he played a crucial role in advocating for the Human Genome Project. While serving on the National Research Council Committee he emphasized that money be laid aside to fund the sequencing of other simpler organisms with which the human genome can be compared. Like Jim Watson, he has passionately supported the Human Genome Project since its inception.