Scientist profile: Leroy Hood

The inventor of the DNA sequencing technique, and Albert Lasker Awardee, embarks on the next big challenge.

By Lisa Grossman, 16:13 PM May 8, 2011

Lee Hood (far right), recipient of a 1987 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. Other award recipients: Philip Leder (left), Susumu Tonegawa, and Mogens Schou (next to Dr. Hood). Mary Lasker is in the center. Behind her are Michael DeBakey, who was then Chair of the Lasker Awards Jury, and James Fordyce, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Leroy Hood (right) accepts the Kistler Prize for helping to link the human genome to society. Credit: Lee Hood/Institute for Systems Biology.


Leroy Hood cofounded an institute to develop a way to tailor medical treatments to each individual person. Credit: Lee Hood/Institute for Systems Biology.

For Leroy Hood, everything is connected. After inventing a machine that helps decode DNA, Hood spent a lot of his long, rambling career trying to combine all branches of science, from biology and physics to engineering and computer science. His invention made it possible for scientists to identify all the genes in human DNA as part of the Human Genome Project.  

 In 2000, he left his research job at a university to cofound the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle. There he and his colleag...

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