Leroy Hood on Biotechnology
  Leroy Hood     Biography    
Recorded: 29 May 2003

Well, I can tell you that I got started in founding companies in the late seventies and the early eighties. And I think I understood from day one that the genome project was going to raise enormous commercial opportunities. In fact, that was one of the major arguments that those of us who testified before Congress would go back and argue. That this was going to be the substrate for economic development in the future. So I think a number of people saw that these opportunities were there. Now I can’t say that we saw exactly saw the shape and scope and nature of these opportunities. But I think the people who really thought about it saw that pretty clearly.

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.