Recorded: 02 Jun 2003
I've been here for every genome symposium. Haven't missed one. It's the only meeting/symposium I go to where I feel that I want to be here for every single day of it. Sometimes I can't. I even had to go away this weekend because of my twenty-fifth college reunion. But I have missed very few days of the Cold Spring Harbor Symposiums/Genome Meetings, since 1986. Probably not a total of more than about four or five days missed over the course of thirteen, fourteen or fifteen years. Whatever it is.
It's the only meeting that really matters to me. I mean I attend others. I give talks at others. But this one matters desperately cause this is the one place where my world comes together to talk about the ideas, the cutting edge, the progress that matters. People come here and they present new stuff. Other places they present old stuff that they've read about, or they’ve written about or that you've heard about or something like that.
But people won't come to the Cold Spring Harbor genome meeting and talk about old stuff because they'd be embarrassed to do so. I gave a talk about new stuff today because I'd be embarrassed [to talk about old stuff]. I always feel insecure coming to the Cold Spring Harbor genome meeting because I feel like these are the best people in the world, in the field. You want to say the most interesting things to them. I take the temperature of the field of genomics by the genome meeting each year. Some years, it is kind of a slow year, not much new. But every time that something exciting is happening in genomics, I hear about it first at the Cold Spring Harbor meeting. We define as the tenor of the field by what went on at that year's Cold Spring Harbor genome meeting. So it's a very special place. There's nothing else like 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.