Leroy Hood on Changes in Genomics
  Leroy Hood     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Jun 2003

Well, genome research has changed in a number of different ways there. It has made possible a lot of commercialization of biology because it’s developed techniques and new approaches to a wide variety of things. It’s made it very convenient for people to get into the business of just doing large scale production of something—sequencing, DNA arrays, and working with computational challenges. And I think what many of the early founders in the genome project left the project for was to continue their interest and fascination with biology. See, the genome project for quite a while was—let’s get done the genome. And now, we’re at this brand new beginning. And the real question should be how can we use this to do biology in ways we couldn’t do it before rather than just kind of applying technology without thinking about it.

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.