Recorded: 01 Jun 2003
I was chair of the department of biology at Caltech for a ten year period and early in that we recruited Tom Maniatis from Harvard. And I think actually the only reason we ever got Tom from Harvard was because there’d been a lot of controversy at Harvard about whether you could use these new tools of recombinant DNA. And Tom came to Caltech and was remarkably productive there just as he’s been remarkably productive everywhere. Interactive and attracted really, really first-rate students, which has been one of Tom’s characteristics throughout his life.
But again I think he was a wonderful example of a scientist who always wanted to look very, very deeply into the problems. And he didn’t get attracted by the gloss of going into general human kinds of things but he focused very intently on understanding precisely defined model systems and coming out with the detailed molecular specifications of gene regulation or whatever he was interested in. But again, just an unusual productive creative scientist and when he left Caltech to go back to Harvard we were all disappointed but I have to say I wasn’t surprised. I think Tom had a real affinity for Boston and for Harvard.
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.