Leroy Hood on Francis Crick
  Leroy Hood     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Jun 2003

So, Francis—Francis is the other side of the coin from Jim [Watson]. I mean in almost every way. My—every conversation I’ve had with Francis has been deep and thoughtful and I come away from the conversations thinking about things in new and different ways. And what’s remarkable is that he can take virtually any topic and bring to it an erudition and knowledge and an ability to make connections that’s truly remarkable. The last time I saw him was perhaps two or three months ago I gave the Crick lecture down at the Salk Institute. And I spent a little more than an hour with him. And we started talking about my latest fascination, gene regulatory networks. And he immediately connected this to some of the central problems in the brain and consciousness and things like this in a way that I’d never really thought about before. So I think Francis was really a one of a kind, an enormously deep, powerful intellect who could cast light on anything that he thought was interesting and certainly for the culmination of his career he took on the hardest problem one can imagine in biology. The problem of consciousness. So I think he is a remarkable—he’s a remarkable individual and a remarkable man and a remarkable scientist.

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.