Leroy Hood on Cold Spring Harbor Symposia
  Leroy Hood     Biography    
Recorded: 29 May 2003

Well, I think as you look across the symposia for the last thirty years or whatever it’s been. I would say one big change that’s come about is. One: there are more people coming to them and two: you know a lot fewer of the people who come. That is—it isn’t the kind of close society of people you’ve met at relatively few rather than very, very many meetings.

I think a second thing is that when you come to a meeting like the meeting this year, the diversity is absolutely enormous. You have people who are computational and modeling at one end and you have people who are quite biological at the other end. You have people interested in systems biology and discovery science. So you’ve got just an enormous spectrum of opportunities. And that’s reflected in an enormous spectrum of technologies that different kinds of people can use.

I would say another thing that’s really changed is the utter dominance of computation and the computer in terms of dealing with the global data sets, the large data sets we get from everything. I mean—in 1967 we could look at the small data sets we had and we didn’t need a computer and you could think about them in a straight forward kind of linear way. And when you’re looking at tens, if not hundreds of thousands or millions of data points. That’s a—it’s a, it’s a very, very different kind of thing.

Leroy Hood, a leading scientist in molecular biotechnology and genomics, received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins Medical School (1964) and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Caltech (1968). In 1992, after more than 20 years as a faculty member at Caltech, where he and his colleagues revolutionized genomics by developing automated DNA sequencing, he relocated to the University of Washington to establish the cross-disciplinary Department of Molecular Biotechnology.

Dr. Hood is currently President of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle where he leads efforts to pioneer systems approaches to biology and medicine. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received the Lasker Award for his studies on the mechanism of immune diversity.

Sharing an interest in the study of antibody diversity, Hood and Watson met in 1967 when Hood attended his first meeting at CSHL. Leroy has been working on the genome since the late 70’s. He went to the first official genome meeting in Santa Cruz in 1985 and has attended all of the subsequent meetings which have been held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.