Eric Green on The Future of Genomic Research
  Eric Green     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

I think that one thing is very clear, the exciting aspect of genomics is not going away. And I think we have spent a lot of time of late trying to—and I think we’re going to do a good job at this, convincing our scientific colleagues, not to mention the general public, that when the genome project is over, it is not the end of genomics. In fact, it’s just the beginning of genomics. And so there’s no question in my mind that that is absolutely the case, and you don’t have to go much further than to think about the challenge that is now in front of us just to interpret the human sequence. And I’m just convinced that we’re just not going to be done doing that, in even twenty years, and maybe not even in forty years. I think we will learn a lot over the next decade. But the notion of truly, rigorously understanding the complexity that’s before us is going to take twenty to forty years, probably. And that’s just one aspect of it.

Now, how we then use that information to really better elucidate the complex pathways in biology, and that’s one whole area. And then, of course, think about how do we apply that, again from a clinical level and again I point out that I think about these things. I’m clinically trained. And the notion is why I got involved in this in the first place. I truly do believe that this is providing a new foundation that is going to really change over time many of the ways we practice medicine. I’ll leave it to other people to describe their clinical specialties, I would quickly gravitate to mine and point out that I think the way that we do pathology in the year 2003, twenty years from now, it won’t even be—I mean, ten years from now, we will look at it and we’ll say, oh, my god, how did we ever practice pathology that way? There will be all new ways of doing this [that] the notion of just looking under a microscope and doing histology will be considered primitive. And you’ll have all sorts of molecular tools in front of you. And you’ll sit there and you’ll say, how did we exist without these new tools. It’s sort of the way we all think now. How did we ever exist without email?

And I think that you are going to see these changes. And then I think, I can think about it in a much more vivid way in the diagnostic front I think you’ll also comparably see things, although it will be harder, in therapeutic fronts as well.

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.