Recorded: 14 May 2004
I remember the first time I saw John Sulston. I did a remarkable thing in 1989. Applied Biosystems, who were the vendors who were selling all these machines and trying to get the sequencing technology out there, invited myself and Craig Venter and Andre Rosenthal and someone else, I can’t recall, to travel around Europe, five cities in five nights; London, Frankfurt, Rome, Paris and Brussels to give a series of talks, a five hour seminar series. We would each give a talk and then run to the airport to the next venue. At each place we would meet some of the local scientists who would also talk, and John Sulston talked at the venue in London. I thought John was a bit winy, frankly. He was complaining about Applied Biosystems and how they hadn’t given him a fair break of access to their technology and their equipment. At the time I thought that was a bit ungracious. They were always being transported around Europe by this group, and here he was complaining about them. But it didn’t take me long to realize that actually he had a good idea of what they were like, and it very fair what he was saying.
Richard A. Gibbs is currently the Director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and the Wofford Cain Professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Radiation Biology in 1985 at the University of Melbourne in Australia. In 1990 he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine, studying the molecular basis of human X-linked diseases and developing technologies for rapid genetic analysis. He developed several fundamental technologies for nucleic acid analysis. In 1991, he joined the BCM faculty and played a key role in the early planning and development phases of the Human Genome Project. In 1996, he established the BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center when Baylor was chosen as one of six programs to complete the final phase of the Human Genome Project. Dr. Gibbs has also made significant contributions to the deciphering of the fly, mouse, dictyostelium, and rat genomes. Among the numerous awards and honors received by Dr. Gibbs, he was awarded the Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Award in 2000.