Eric Green on Genomic Education
  Eric Green     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

How will they be able to take in and understand this new—I mean these are huge challenges. First of all, there are challenges on many levels.

The first thing is there’s a serious need to improve genetic literacy. And I’m not even going to say about the general public. No disrespect intended, but I know, and you thought I was young; it’s nice to know. I think I’m sort of young. And it’s not that many years ago that I graduated medical school. So most of my medical school classmates are out sort of thriving in their private practice right now. And they will be confronting these new aspects of the genomic/genetic revolution while they’re still active practicing physicians. I know what we were taught in terms of genetics in medical school. It is grossly inadequate for what is going to be needed. So first what we need to do is there’s going to be a huge educational need just at the healthcare provider level.

Then, of course, we need to be able to educate the public, so that when they have an interface with a healthcare provider, that that’s a meaningful interface.

And then, of course, there are other setup problems we have to deal with such as how healthcare is delivered in this country with respect to even giving enough time to interact with healthcare providers to understand this, not to mention all the financial implications of diagnostic testing and new therapeutic avenues and so forth. So there is a little bit of clash that will likely come with the ability to do something that perhaps is not by financial means. And those problems are obviously bigger than even the genome project ever could imagine contemplating. And those will have to be grappled with. No question.

Eric Green received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin (1981) and his M.D. and Ph.D. from Washington University School of Medicine (1987). During his residency training in clinical pathology, he worked Maynard Olson’s lab, where he developed approaches for utilizing yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs) to construct physical maps of DNA. His work also included initiation of a project to construct a complete physical map of human chromosome 7.

In 1992, he became an assistant professor of pathology, genetics, and medicine as well as a co-investigator in the Human Genome Center at Washington University. In 1994, he moved his research laboratory to the intramural program of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health. In November, 2009 he was appointed Director of NHGRI, after serving in the roles of NHGRI scientific director, director of NHGRI Division of Intramural Research, Chief of the Genome Technology Branch and that branches Physical Mapping Section, and Director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (NISC). His lab’s current focus is on the application of large-scale DNA to study problems in human genomics, genetics, and biology.

Among the numerous awards Eric Green has received are induction into the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2002 and into the America Association of Physicians in 2007. He is a founding editor of Genome Research, has edited the series, Genome Analysis: A Laboratory Manual, and, since 2005, is co-editor of the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics.