Recorded: 02 Jun 2003
It's spectacular. For me it's very special because the very first talk I ever gave in biology in my entire career was the 1986 symposium on The Molecular Biology of Homo Sapiens. I had come to biology as a mathematician. I had never given a public talk in biology. I was the third speaker in that symposium. I was terrified too.
For me it was an eye opener. I met everybody in the field for the first time. I heard the debate on the human genome project. It was where I really got sucked into the whirlwind of the human genome project. There was so much talk about what might be possible-the dreams and the pipe dreams and arguments about it. And to come back now, just a month or so after the completion of the human genome project. To see what it has all wrought is just amazing.
It's just a great symposium. It is so much more than we ever expected, I think, in '86, would come out of it, has come out of it.
Eric Lander earned his A.B. in mathematics from Princeton University (1978) and D.Phil. in mathematics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University (1981).
He first came to the Whitehead Institute as a Whitehead Fellow in 1986, while still an assistant professor of managerial economics at the Harvard Business School and is currently Director of the Whitehead Center for Genome Research and Professor of Biology at MIT. As director of the Whitehead Center for Genome Research, Dr Lander has been one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project, contributing 30 percent of the total sequence of the human genome and developing and making freely available many of the key tools used in modern mammalian genomics.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and has been awarded the Beckman Prize for Lab Automation, the Chiron Prize for Biotechnology, and the Gairdner Award for his outstanding contribution to genomic research.
Lander has attended every human genome meeting at CSHL. At the request of Jim Watson, Lander gave his first lecture at the 1986 CSHL symposium on the Molecular Biology of Homo Sapiens.