Leroy Hood on The Human Genome Project: International Collaboration
  Leroy Hood     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Jun 2003

Well, I think from the beginning those that were really interested in the Human Genome Project felt it was important to bring our colleagues from other countries in. I mean, number one: this is about the human genome, it wasn’t about the American genome. But I think number two was that there was a very, very strong feeling that we needed to have a buy-in from the community and we needed to have world wide support for a project that, you know, was extrapolated to cost three billion dollars over fifteen years or so. But I think the important point was that we saw this as an opportunity to catalyze international cooperation and collaboration in science and it turned out to be that perhaps more than we ever believe it would.

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.