David Botstein on CSHL: Past & Present
  David Botstein     Biography    
Recorded: 28 May 2003

Of course, you know, Jim’s cut down most of the trees that used to be here. There were lots more trees. There were many fewer buildings. The accommodations were terrible compared to the current. The food, we won’t speak of the food. And, you know, one of the great things was sneaking out to go to Banbury against stern incantations that we weren’t allowed to do it. And then we got smarter towards the end of this because what we said was—Jim would call up and say, “Would you like to do the course another year?” And we would say—actually, it wouldn’t be Jim. It would be Terri Grodzicker who would call up, “Want to do the course another year?” And we would say, “Not unless we can swim at Banbury!” And that was very effective. In fact, they had our goodbye after five years at Banbury, which was a great event. It was a great thing!

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.