Leroy Hood on Involvement in Genomics
  Leroy Hood     Biography    
Recorded: 29 May 2003

I started in a technical sense working on the genome in probably ’78 or ’79 when we started—to begin our attempts to automate DNA sequencing. And we succeeded with the first prototype instrument in 1986. Hence I was invited to the first meeting that was really officially held on the genome project in Santa Cruz in ’85. And I must say that meeting really captured my imagination as far as the genome project went. And I became both an advocate of doing technology for the genome project and actually doing the sequencing that was going to tell us about the genomes.

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.