James Kent on Jim Watson, Personality & Influence
  James Kent     Biography    
Recorded: 31 May 2003

Yeah, he’s definitely a character. He gave me some very good advice though. He said that you should always surround yourself with people that are smarter than you are, otherwise how would you get any help. And I think this was good. So you should strive to be the dumbest person in the room. I don’t know.

Jim Kent is a research scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz's Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering. After a stint working in the computer animation industry, he entered the Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Ph.D. program at Santa Cruz. While completing his degree, he became increasingly interested in bioinformatics. Concurrently, the human genome was being sequenced, accumulating in the databases and was scheduled to be released in one month’s time—however, still no technology was in place to assemble its many sequences. In one month, Jim Kent created a computer program called the GigAssembler and computationally compiled for the first time, the entire human genome so that it could be released to the public at its intended deadline.

Jim Kent focuses on understanding the way in which genes are turned on and off to create varying outcomes.