Public Release: 

Leroy Hood to receive 2004 Biotechnology Heritage Award

CHF and BIO will rresent the Award on 7 June at BIO 2004 in San Francisco

Chemical Heritage Foundation

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) will present the 6th Annual Biotechnology Heritage Award to Leroy Hood, one of the world's leading scientists in molecular biotechnology and genomics and one of the first advocates of the Human Genome Project. The presentation will be made on Monday, 7 June, during the plenary breakfast session at BIO 2004 in San Francisco.

"Award-winning researcher, gifted entrepreneur, and brilliant innovator, Leroy Hood pioneered the techniques that made the rapid pace of the Human Genome Project possible," said Arnold Thackray, president of CHF. "Without his contribution, the sequencing of the human genome could have taken years or even decades longer."

About Leroy Hood
Leroy Hood is president and cofounder of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, a non-profit research institute established to pioneer systems approaches to biology and medicine. He has also cofounded numerous biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Systemix, Darwin, Rosetta, and MacroGenics.

He earned an M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1964 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1968. Hood has published more than 500 peer-reviewed papers and coauthored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, and genetics. He also coedited Code of Codes, a book about scientific, social, and ethical issues raised by genetic research.

His professional career began at Caltech, where he and colleagues pioneered the DNA and protein synthesizers and sequencers that constitute the technological foundation for contemporary molecular biology and have revolutionized genomics by allowing the rapid automated sequencing of DNA. He also played a pioneering role in deciphering the secrets of antibody diversity.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Association of Arts and Sciences, Hood's many awards and honors include 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.

Hood has maintained a life-long commitment to making science accessible and understandable to the general public, especially to children.

About the Biotechnology Heritage Award
The Biotechnology Heritage Award is presented yearly at a special ceremony during the BIO Annual International Convention to honor individuals who have contributed significantly to the growth of biotechnology through discovery, innovation, commercialization, and/or public understanding. In honoring these individuals, the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Biotechnology Industry Organization seek to encourage emulation, inspire achievement, and promote public understanding of modern science, industry, and economics in this rapid-growth area.

The award complements the mission of both organizations by advancing their mutual goals of educating the public, nourishing a sense of pride and community within the industry, and developing the record of the remarkable contributions the molecular sciences make to our lives. Previous award winners are:

  • William J. Rutter (2003)
  • Walter Gilbert and Phillip A. Sharp (2002)
  • Francis S. Collins and J. Craig Venter (2001)
  • Herbert W. Boyer and Robert A. Swanson (2000)
  • George B. Rathmann (1999)

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About the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial, and environmental biotechnology products. For more information, visit www.bio.org.

About the Chemical Heritage Foundation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation serves the community of the chemical and molecular sciences, and the wider public, by treasuring the past, educating the present, and inspiring the future. CHF carries out a program of outreach and interpretation in order to advance an understanding of the role of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries in shaping society; maintains a world-class collection of materials that document the history and heritage of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries; and encourages research in its collections.

CHF regularly hosts lectures and meetings on biotechnology through its Joseph Priestley Society and actively seeks to honor, preserve, and encourage this most vital and exciting field. Many of biotechnology's leaders have been both entrepreneurs and researchers, uniquely enabling them to bring their scientific achievements to the global market quickly. CHF is proud to help honor and preserve this important area of human endeavor with the Biotechnology Heritage Award. For more information, visit www.chemheritage.org.

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