Myers & Cox on Involvement in Genomics
  Myers & Cox     Biography    
Recorded: 31 May 2003

Rick Myers: Well, he encouraged—I mean when he started this, I’m sure he thought I should go out and recruit or get people to be interested in this because it was a risk, right? I mean this is a very different way to build a center in biology. Back then it was almost unheard of. And it was a risk. And so he had to make sure that he got people who would be interested in doing this and dedicated to it.

David Cox: I mean it’s not that Jim gave—I mean this was peer-reviewed stuff. So I mean it’s not like Jim figured out, you know, who was going to run a genome center. But he did go around and basically it was just like, you know, recruiting for the Army. You know the Uncle Sam thing. You know, America wants you! So that was Jim. But that as a result of that we were already doing genetics, but not really the human genome project.

Rick Myers: That’s right, that’s right.

David Cox: And so that was really an important aspect of our lives because it broadened out the basic biological and genetic research we were doing into the context of the genome project. And that I don’t think that we would have gone to Stanford if we hadn’t done that in addition to our regular human genetics research.

Rick Myers: That’s right. And then also Stanford embraced it. I mean the idea of having—they already had another genome center from the one that David Botstein and Ron Davis were running at the time. Then this David and I went there and set the one up which we called the Stanford Human Genome Center. And that was a key part to going there. I mean that was, and it continues to be—David and I ran that together until he left and what year did you leave?

David Cox: 2000.

David Cox received B.A. and M.S. degrees from Brown University and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington. From 1980 to 1993, Dr. Cox held faculty positions in the Departments of Pediatrics, Biochemistry and Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. In 1993, he became Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine as well as the Co-director of the Stanford Genome Center.

Dr Cox was a co-founder of Perlegen, and has been Chief Scientific Officer of the Company since its formation in 2001. He has served on several international and national councils and commissions including the Council of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO) and the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC). He presently serves as a member of the Health Sciences Policy Board of the Institute of Medicine. Dr Cox's honors include election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cox was a member of one of the first groups to begin sequencing the human genome. His relationship with Watson developed from his interest in Cox’s innovative approach to sequencing, called radiation hybrid mapping.

He attended the 68th Cold Spring Harbor symposium to celebrate the completion of the rough draft of the human sequence.

Richard Myers, biochemist and geneticist, is currently Director of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama.

Following his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Alabama (B.S., 1977), Dr. Myers earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley (1982) with Robert Tjian. His postdoctoral work was performed at Harvard University with Tom Maniatis. In 1986 he joined the faculty of the University of California at San Francisco, and remained there until 1993 when he moved to Stanford University School of Medicine. He had been Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics and Director of the Stanford Human Genome Center until July 2008 when he was named to his current position.

Dr. Myers is a member of numerous committees concerned with human genetic diseases and the Human Genome Project including the Genome Resources and Sequencing Prioritization Panel (GRASPP) and is Chair of the Genome Research Review Committee of the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. He is also a member of the Biology and Biotechnology Program Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Myers has received numerous awards including the Pritzker Foundation Award (2002), the Darden Lecture Award from the University of Alabama (2002), the Wills Foundation Award (1986-2001) and was a Searle Scholar (1987-1990).

Myers was involved in every human genome meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and has attended CSHL symposia since 1986.