Robert Waterston on The HGP: After Jim Watson’s Directorship
  Robert Waterston     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Jun 2003

We worked with Mike Gottesman who was the acting director and he actually—he was the one who had to shepherd the expanded worm grant through because you know not long after Jim got Glaxo to support us or to support John—he resigned. I mean part of it was indeed that there was some kind of issue, conflict of interest about getting Glaxo to do all of this. And that was part of the charade to get him to step aside, I think. Also he got Jim fired. Not a good thing to do. So anyway, but he was clearly heavily involved in ’98 when Craig [Venter] came forward with this proposal. I mean he was very vigorous. And he was also—he was vigorous in his opposition. He was very vigorous in his support. He worked hard in Congress to get Congress to give the money.

Robert Waterston received his bachelor's degree in engineering from Princeton University (1965) and both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago (1972). After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, he joined the Washington University faculty in 1976 where he is the James S. McDonnel Professor of Genetics, head of the Department of Genetics, and director of the School of Medicine’s Genome Sequencing Center, which he founded in 1993. In early 2003 Dr Waterston took on the role of Chair of the department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, was a recipient of the International Gairdner Award, the Genetics Society of America’s Beadle Award, the Dan David Prize, and the Alfred P. Sloan Award from the GM Cancer Research Foundation.

Waterston attended the worm meetings at Cold Spring Harbor Lab and in 1989 Watson supported Waterston’s proposal to use the worm as a model organism in the Human Genome Project.