Future: Genome Research
The 11th Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science Advisor to the U.S. President, serving on the Cabinet in both capacities.
Prof. Eric Lander is a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School, a former member of the Whitehead Institute, and the founding director of the Broad Institute.
Lander has been a major intellectual force in genomics research. Building on his background in mathematics, he placed genomics on a firm quantitative foundation.
Alongside David Botstein and Phil Green, Lander developed algorithms to allow effective use of polymorphism data for genetic mapping and published the first genetic linkage map of the human genome. As the human genome project got underway, he demonstrated an unusual ability to innovate in the organization of high-throughput methods first in creating genetic maps of mouse and rat genomes and later as a major contributor to the Human Genome Project.
Lander was a powerful and respected voice in the planning and execution of the genome project. He pioneered many of the analyses of genome sequence data and led the writing of the landmark publication describing the Human Genome Project first as a draft sequence in Nature, 2001 and later as a full sequence in Nature, 2004. This has become the standard human reference sequence.
Lander has also been at the forefront of applying the genome sequence to the study of human disease, generating the first deep SNP catalogs, applying them to understand the haploid structure of the genome and more recently, championing the use of common variation to the study of complex traits. He has led efforts to understand the functional elements of the human genome, generating genome sequence from multiple other mammals to delineate the conserved elements and to define noncoding RNAs and characterize chromatin states.
Among Prof. Lander’s awards are: Honorary Degree, Columbia University; Honorary Doctorate, Lund University, Sweden; Honorary Doctorate, University of Massachusetts at Lowell; Gairdner Foundation International Award, Canada; Max Delbruck Medal, Berlin; Honorary Doctorate, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York; Honorary Doctorate, Tel Aviv Universtiy; Millennium Lecturer, The White House; Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Member of the American Academy of Achievement; and Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Beyond his immediate scientific contributions, Eric Lander has attracted talented investigators to the field and nurtured their careers.