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Hood Discusses Systems Biology On Dec. 15 in Masur Auditorium

Dr. Leroy Hood, one of the world's leading scientists in the field of molecular biotechnology and genomics, will present the Florence S. Mahoney Lecture on Aging on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. The title of his presentation is "Systems Biology: Predictive and Preventive Medicine." Sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, the annual lecture is part of the NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series.

Hood is a key player in the Human Genome Project and has been a pioneer in deciphering the secrets of antibody diversity. His lecture will include an historical overview of the Human Genome Project — a project which has transformed biology by providing a genetics "parts list" of all genes and proteins, by fueling the contention that biology is an informational science and by catalyzing the emergence of biological information (e.g., rapid DNA sequencing or DNA chips). From this transformation has emerged systems biology, a new approach centered on the idea that researchers can study biological systems by delineating the relationships of the component elements, leading to a better understanding of resulting systems properties.

Dr. Leroy Hood
Hood will give several examples of systems approaches. The lecture will conclude with a discussion of the effect that systems biology will have on medicine, moving it toward more predictive, preventive and personalized health care.

His professional career began at Caltech where Hood and his colleagues explored DNA and protein synthesizers and sequencers that constitute the technological foundation for contemporary molecular biology. One of the instruments revolutionized genomics by allowing the rapid automated sequencing of DNA. In 1992, he moved to the University of Washington to create the cross-disciplinary department of molecular biotechnology. At Washington, he applied his laboratory's expertise in DNA sequencing to the analysis of human and mouse immune receptors and initiated studies in prostate cancer, autoimmunity and hematopoietic stem cell development.

In 2000, Hood founded the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle to investigate systems approaches to biology and medicine. Over the course of his career, he has published more than 600 peer-reviewed papers and co-authored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and genetics. He is co-editor of Code of Codes, a book discussing scientific, social and ethical issues raised by genetic research.

Numerous organizations have honored Hood with academic and scientific awards, including the Lasker Award in 1987 for studies on the mechanism of immune diversity, the Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology in 2002, and the Lemelson-MIT Prize for Invention and Innovation in 2003. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Mahoney Lecture is named in memory of a life-long champion of increased federal spending for health research who was instrumental in the creation of the National Institute on Aging. NIH has recognized Mahoney's contribution to the growth of medical research by naming the east courtyard in the newly opened Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center in her honor.

A reception will follow Hood's presentation.

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