Leroy Hood on Edward Lewis
  Leroy Hood     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Jun 2003

One of the people that was really remarkable as an undergraduate was Ed Lewis. And I never quite figured out Ed Lewis because he was really a terrible teacher in many ways. I mean he was quasi-incomprehensible, but if you sat down and talked with him one on one there was just this enormous enthusiasm for science and this enormous depth and understanding that really was quite remarkable. And then, you know, his Nobel Prize, I mean—Ed Lewis had figured out—like Barbara McClintock did, fundamental deep things thirty years, twenty years before the rest of the people came to the party. And anyone as so remarkably ahead of their time has to be really an exceptional person.

The other thing I can say about Ed Lewis is we shared one common trait. Ed and I both were morning joggers. So we would be jogging around the Caltech court yard early in the morning often together. And the other vignette of Ed Lewis that—the other aspect of Ed Lewis that I’ve always enjoyed was his wife, Pam. She was absolutely a wonderful person. I mean, an artist who was unique. I mean she uniquely complemented Ed in so many different ways. They had this love of animals and small animals and big animals and all sorts of different kinds of things. They traveled together and they even—even now in the very late years they’ve traveled together. So I think they really were quite a remarkable couple just as Ed was 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.