Eric Green on Changes in the HGP
  Eric Green     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

What’s changed most about the human genome project? I do think, well, there are lots of things. A lot of things have changed, not the least of which we actually figured out how we were going to do it and then actually accomplished. I do think that there’s been a lot of—a narrowing of the community in some ways. When I think back, there were days when this meeting—many more labs would be represented. There was at one time a proliferation of genome centers and then with time the recognition they really need to be consolidated, so now you have many people from a smaller number of places. So I think that’s one aspect of it. The field, it has not necessarily broadened considerably. And, in fact, early on there was a lot larger presence of human geneticists at a meeting like this then there are now.

Then certainly the other [aspect] that has changed, this is very dramatic, I guess, I may be more interested in this as an organizer of this meeting or as somebody who has been involved or at least given advice about how to run this meeting or how to deal with this meeting and so forth, is that in the late ‘90s in particular, there’s a major spike in the amount of individuals coming to this meeting from private industry. And now, I think that sort of sways, that pendulum is swinging back the other way and partially because some of the biotech bubble has burst a little bit, and money is a little tighter, and they don’t travel as much and so forth. But it was very interesting to watch that shift take place, probably in the late 1990s. And now, I mean, now it’s sort of settled back.

I think you’re also going to see it likely is going to change a little more towards the future. I have a feeling. I think as genomics sort of goes into the new era it may start attracting people that—and it may end up attracting some of the people that came in the early ‘90s and then sort of didn’t come when it was all about sequencing, and now as some of these things get to be more applied you might end up seeing some of them returning. Actually at the symposium you are seeing people who are here, who are telling great genomic stories, who were here in the early ‘90s, sort of running around here in the late ‘90s and now are back again because now finally with the sequence they can do the things they were proposing to do in the early ‘90s.

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.